Based on the speed figures he has earned and his preferred running style, there is no denying that Medina Spirit deserves to be the favorite in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes and represents the most likely winner of the race. Although he looks to be tough to beat in the second leg of the U.S. Triple Crown, there are a few alternatives to the heavy favorite who are not entirely without a chance in Baltimore. Here are three horses who could upend Medina Spirit on Saturday.
Bob Baffert’s second entrant in this year’s Preakness is Concert Tour, a highly regarded colt who, for a moment, looked as though he could wind up as the favorite in this year’s Kentucky Derby – until he delivered an awful performance in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and was subsequently withdrawn from consideration from the race. Breaking from post position #10 beneath Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, Concert Tour is a fascinating entrant in Saturday’s race, as he looks to be the only other legitimate speed entered. Common sense would suggest it unlikely that the two Baffert horses duel one another throughout the early portions of the race and compromise one another’s chances at victory, but it is not as though Concert Tour has shown a great willingness to relax in his races. Yes, he has won from a stalking position in the past, but those victories came in sprint races. His only victory going a route of ground came when he could control things on the lead, and that does not seem to be a likely scenario in the Preakness. Nonetheless, he is a fast horse who has flashed brilliance at times and could be the one to defeat Medina Spirit.
The sixth-place finisher in this year’s Kentucky Derby ran better than the placing would suggest, as he was extremely wide every step of the way while rallying from midpack. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bourbon is the type of colt who has enough early speed to stay within shouting distance of the likes of Medina Spirit and Concert Tour early, a tactical advantage which likely gives him a chance as the field rounds the far turn. While far from the flashiest runner, Midnight Bourbon is an honest type who will give you all he has; whether that is good enough to prevail in the Preakness Stakes is another story. Look for jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. to have the son of Tiznow positioned just off Medina Spirit throughout Saturday’s race.
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One of the “new shooters” in this year’s Preakness, Crowded Trade heads to Baltimore is one-half of a Chad Brown trained duo that does not look impossible on paper. As a 5/2 shot in last month’s Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Crowded Trade raced inside from a midpack position before angling into the clear as the field rounded the far turn. At the top of the lane, it looked as though the son of More Than Ready was the winner, however Bourbonic rallied from last to get up in the shadow of the wire. The third-place finish from Crowded Trade came in his first attempt going two-turns, and the plan all along for this colt has been to point to this race. He needs to take another step forward, but at a square price, that does not seem entirely out of the realm of possibility.