As the second event on horse racing's Triple Crown schedule, the Preakness Stakes usually features a favorite that was victorious at the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier. That's the case this year, as Medina Spirit will be looking to race to another big win on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
However, there's been even more attention on Medina Spirit than the typical high amount that the Derby champion attracts. After his victory at Churchill Downs, Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid betamethasone, and he's now undergone three more blood tests to ensure he'll be allowed to race at the Preakness (the first of which came back clean).
Still, uncertainty remains over whether Medina Spirit could potentially be disqualified from the Kentucky Derby and lose his victory, which would then go to second-place finisher Mandaloun and ensure there would be no Triple Crown champion in 2021. That decision is still to come.
But for now, Medina Spirit will look to win the Preakness by fending off the other nine strong horses in this year's field.
Here's a look at the full lineup heading into Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
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
Bob Baffert has opted not to attend the Preakness following Medina Spirit's positive drug test. But there's still a chance the trainer will notch his eighth career win in the race, especially if Medina Spirit performs like he did at the Kentucky Derby.
Medina Spirit led the Derby wire to wire, and although he wasn't the favorite heading into the race, he ended up dominating the event. But there's going to be some strong competition in the Preakness, and things may not unfold quite the same way they did two weeks ago in Louisville.
Longtime trainer D. Wayne Lukas knows what it takes to win the Preakness. He's had a horse emerge victorious at the race six times. If longshot Ram wins Saturday, then Lucas would match Baffert's all-time record with his seventh Preakness win.
While that may not happen, Lukas believes there's many different possibilities for Saturday's race.
"There's a number of horses here numbers-wise that could get up here and win," Lukas said, per Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun. "I think Bob's going to win it; he's got the double chance and both horses look very good right now. But I actually like the other one more than the Derby winner. I think the Derby was hard on a lot of horses."
That other horse would be Concert Tour, who will begin the race from the No. 10 post. Despite starting on the end, Concert Tour could quickly get to the front of the field, especially given how fresh the colt is heading into the event.
Concert Tour, who won his first three career races, hasn't competed since finishing third at the Arkansas Derby on April 10. He's one of seven horses in the Preakness field that didn't race the Kentucky Derby.
Along with Medina Spirit, the only horses in the Preakness lineup that also raced the Derby are Midnight Bourbon and Keepmeinmind, who finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Both will be looking for stronger performances at the Preakness, and either is capable of doing so.
"It's definitely a wide-open race," said Robertino Diodoro, Keepmeinmind's trainer, according to Walker.
Midnight Bourbon could be a horse to keep an eye on as one that may upset Baffert's pair of strong colts. It seems unlikely that Midnight Bourbon will get off to as tough of a start as he did in the Derby (especially with him beginning the Preakness from the No. 5 post), so he could be more of a factor early.
Steve Asmussen, who is Midnight Bourbon's trainer, is a two-time Preakness winner, although his last victory in the race came with Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Perhaps it's time for his drought to come to an end Saturday.
Regardless of which horse ends up crossing the finish line first, expect a competitive race that could feature several colts battling it out for the win at the end. And while the odds will again be in Baffert's favor, it may not be a surprise if another horse edges Medina Spirit and Concert Tour for the victory.