Preakness 2021: Post-Kentucky Derby Predictions and Preview

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2021

John Velazquez on Medina Spirit, third from right, leads the pack into turn one during the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. Velazquez rode Medina Spirit to victory. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

With the 2021 Kentucky Derby in the books, the horse-racing world shifts its focus to the 2021 Preakness and Medina Spirit's quest for the Triple Crown.

The Florida-bred colt surprised almost everyone at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Breaking from his post as a 12-1 underdog, he outran a talented field to take the win.

NBC Sports @NBCSports

MEDINA SPIRIT HAS WON THE @KentuckyDerby ! https://t.co/UWhOlqc9NY

He certainly has the connections to make a run for the Triple Crown. Trained by the legendary Bob Baffert and ridden by a talented jockey in John Velazquez, Medina Spirit showed the necessary demeanor to win the big races. Now it just comes down to finding ways to do it again.

Winning the second jewel of the crown will be a tough task. Not only is he likely to see some of the top horses from the Derby field who may have had bad trips or off days, but there are also contenders who may have skipped the Derby for one reason or another.

Here's an early look at the possible lineup that will be at Pimlico.


2021 Preakness Probable and Possible Contenders

  • Medina Spirit
  • Essential Quality
  • Concert Tour
  • Mandaloun
  • Caddo River
  • Crowded Trade
  • Rombauer
  • King Fury
  • Get Her Number
  • Tarantino
  • France Go De Ina

Possible lineup via Horse Racing Nation.



The storylines abound in this one. Brad H. Cox, who trained Derby favorite Essential Quality and runner-up Mandaloun, could once again have a major presence. Caddo River could join Cox's stable of horses at Pimlico.

Caddo River finished second in the Arkansas Derby (G1), where he was edged out by Derby runner Super Stock. A mild fever took Caddo River out of the Derby lineup, but he gives Cox an even better chance of winning, assuming he is healthy going into the race.

One horse to keep an eye on as race day nears and trainers are forced to make decisions is Concert Tour. Bob Baffert's colt won a pair of Grade II races in the San Vicente Stakes and the Rebel Stakes before finishing third in the Arkansas Derby.

The colt was at Churchill Downs during Derby week, and the trainer liked what he saw.

"He looked at good as any horses running [in the Derby]," Baffert said, per Tim Wilkin of the Albany Times Union. "If the Derby was next week, he probably would've run. I needed an extra week."

Now compare that to the trainer's reaction to his other horse winning the Derby: "I cannot believe he won this race. That little horse. That was him, all guts. He's always shown that he's been an overachiever. His heart is bigger than his body."

That leaves Baffert in a tricky situation. Does he put a horse in the race who is capable of beating his potential Triple Crown winner? It's worth noting Concert Tour is owned by Gary and Mary West Stables while the Derby winner is owned by Zedan Racing Stables.

Both Caddo River and Concert Tour could pose challenges, but a repeat victory over some of the horses in the lineup will be tough as well.

Derby favorite Essential Quality was jostled at the start of Saturday's race. He still rallied to be in a position to make a late run that didn't materialize. Rock Your World never had a chance and finished 17th, which isn't an indication of his ability.

Known Agenda was another middle-of-the-pack choice with upside who happened to be assigned the No. 1 post. He was boxed in early.

All of these colts who happened to have bad trips could become serious contenders once again at Baltimore. The field is traditionally smaller there, and the shorter race affects the pace.

The stage is set for a wild Preakness, and Medina Spirit may not even go into the race as the post-time favorite.