Much of the buzz surrounding the 2021 Preakness Stakes early in race week revolved around whether Medina Spirit would be allowed to race. The Kentucky Derby champion failed a post-race drug test, putting the colt's Preakness status in question.
However, Medina Spirit has been cleared to compete (even though trainer Bob Baffert has decided not to attend the race), and he will be looking to emerge victorious again from the 10-horse field that is set to race in the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday. But there will be some other strong competitors on the track.
Here's a look at the lineup and odds for the 146th Preakness Stakes, followed by predictions for the top three finishers in this year's race.
Preakness Lineup, Odds
1. Ram: 30-1
2. Keepmeinmind: 15-1
3. Medina Spirit: 9-5
4. Crowded Trade: 10-1
5. Midnight Bourbon: 5-1
6. Rombauer: 12-1
7. France Go de Ina: 20-1
8. Unbridled Honor: 15-1
9. Risk Taking: 15-1
10. Concert Tour: 5-2
Odds via Preakness Stakes
Despite all the attention being on Medina Spirit's failed drug test leading up to the Preakness, Baffert still has the top two favorites for the race. And there's a strong chance that either Medina Spirit or Concert Tour will cross the finish line first at Pimlico on Saturday evening.
Medina Spirit has finished first or second in each of his first six career races. He started from the No. 8 post in the Kentucky Derby, broke strong and led the race wire-to-wire, giving Baffert his record-breaking seventh career Derby victory.
At the Preakness, Medina Spirit will once more have a strong starting position, the No. 3 post. And if he jumps out to an early lead again, there's a chance he will pace the field and run to victory.
But if that isn't the case, Concert Tour is likely the strongest contender outside of Medina Spirit. The colt is fresh, having not raced at the Kentucky Derby.
After winning his first three career races, Concert Tour finished third at the Arkansas Derby in April. But he could be poised for a much better showing at the Preakness.
"He's a light horse, so he's got his weight picked back up and his energy level is great," assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said, per Bob Ehalt of BloodHorse. "He should be a fresh horse. That was the idea of skipping [the Derby]. You get two more weeks and you have a little fresher horse."
Two other horses to keep an eye on at the Preakness are Midnight Bourbon and Crowded Trade.
Although Midnight Bourbon finished sixth at the Kentucky Derby, he had placed third or better in his seven previous races. The colt didn't get off to a great start at Churchill Downs, so he had to try to work his way up through the pack. If he starts better at the Preakness, a more impressive showing could follow.
Crowded Trade is another horse that didn't race the Kentucky Derby. In fact, he's only competed at three events, finishing third or better in each. His most recent showing was a third-place finish at the Wood Memorial Stakes in early April.
Of those two, Midnight Bourbon is more likely to compete with the two Baffert-trained horses. And it wouldn't be surprising if he, Medina Spirit and Concert Tour comprise the top three Saturday.
Which one will come out on top? The prediction here is that Concert Tour will rebound from his disappointing Arkansas Derby showing and take control of the Preakness midway through the race. He will hold off strong charges from Midnight Bourbon and Medina Spirit to take the victory.
It means Baffert will take the Preakness record outright by winning the race for the eighth time. But it won't be with the same horse that won the Kentucky Derby.
Prediction: 1. Concert Tour; 2. Midnight Bourbon; 3. Medina Spirit.