Racing fans will gather at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday for the 146th running of the Preakness Stakes. The second leg of the Triple Crown is back in its traditional spot after serving as the final event in 2020.
While the Preakness is in a familiar place this year, it won't be without some controversy. Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test but has been cleared to race Saturday after passing three pre-race tests agreed upon by trainer Bob Baffert and Maryland racing officials.
While Medina Spirit will be cleared—and can therefore continue a quest for the Triple Crown—the horse won't escape scrutiny.
"If Medina Spirit goes and wins the Preakness on Saturday, the general public is going to just immediately say, 'Oh, well, look, there's still something funny going on,'" NBC Sports betting analyst Matt Bernier said, per the Associated Press (h/t USA Today).
Baffert has strongly denied any wrongdoing with Medina Spirit. However, the trainer carries his own cloud of controversy. A Baffert-trained filly named Gamine also tested positive for betamethasone just last year. According to Baffert, this led him to avoid using the drug with Medina Spirit.
"That's why this result was particularly shocking because we had specifically made a decision not to use that particular anti-inflammatory, he said, per CNN's Steve Almasy.
It's easy to understand why many are skeptical of Baffert coming out of the Kentucky Derby. Medina Spirit is in the Preakness field regardless, which should help make for a fun and exciting race.
When: Saturday, May 15
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore
TV and Live Stream: NBC and NBCSports.com
Post Time: 6:50 p.m. ET
Preakness Positioning and 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 Vegas Insider.
In contrast to the Kentucky Derby, this year's Preakness features a small and relatively underwhelming field. Medina Spirit and the Baffert-trained Concert Tour are the heavy favorites, with most of the other horses being viewed as long shots.
Midnight Bourbon, the sixth-place finisher at the Derby, is an exception. The Steve Asmussen-trained horse entered The Run for the Roses off a second-place finish in the Louisiana Stakes and has the speed needed to be a front-runner Saturday.
A rough start placed Midnight Bourbon near the back of the field early at the Derby, though he did make up ground.
"He had a great draw in the Derby, didn't get away from the gates as well as we would have liked and didn't have the outcome we liked," Asmussen said, per Claire Crosby of BloodHorse.
If Midnight Bourbon can get off to a cleaner start, he can challenge for the top spot.
Keepmeinmind is another horse to pay attention to. The seventh-place finisher at the Kentucky Derby has a favorable position in the No. 2 post and will break directly next to Medina Spirit.
Still, Medina Spirit and Concert Tour—who has four top-three finishes in four races—are the favorites for a reason. It feels like one of the two will take home the victory at Pimlico.
1. Concert Tour
2. Midnight Bourbon
3. Medina Spirit