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Rombauer pulls off major upset in Preakness Stakes

16 May 2021

(PRESS RELEASE) -- John and Diane Fradkin’s Rombauer staged a powerful rally through the stretch of Pimlico Race Course to register an 11-1 upset victory in Saturday’s 146th Preakness Stakes (G1).

The $1 million Preakness Stakes, renewed under sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, highlighted a 14-race program with 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.25 million.

Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit, who led throughout the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, faded to third after setting the pace in Saturday’s Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

Rombauer ($25.60), who was withheld from the Kentucky Derby by his owners in favor of waiting for the Preakness, provided trainer Michael McCarthy with his first success in the Triple Crown series with his very first starter.

Rombauer, who scored a 3 ½-length decision over Midnight Bourbon while running the 1 3/16-mile distance in 1:53.62, had earned a fees-paid berth into the Preakness by winning the Feb 13 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, a ‘Win & In’ event.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Rombauer raced between horses in sixth-place in the 10-horse field that was led by Medina Spirit along the front stretch and around the first turn. The pacesetting 2-1 favorite, who set fractions of 23.77 and 46.93 seconds for the first half-mile, was closely shadowed to his outside by Midnight Bourbon along the backstretch and into the far turn. Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon showed the way into the stretch as Rombauer began to launch a strong bid on the final turn. Midnight Bourbon edged past the pacesetter in mid-stretch, but Rombauer loomed boldly on the far outside and continued on to register a decisive victory.

Rombauer, who finished third in the April 3 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland in his previous start, claimed his third victory in six career starts, which include a close second-place finish in the American Pharoah (G1) at Santa Anita last year. Midnight Bourbon, the 3-1 second betting choice ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., finished two lengths ahead of Medina Spirit, who was ridden by John Velazquez. Keepmeinmind finished fourth, four more lengths back, followed by Crowded Trade, Unbridled Honor, France Go de Ina, Risk Taking, Concert Tour and Ram.

McCarthy, a former longtime assistant to Todd Pletcher, was enthusiastically congratulated by his former boss, the Hall of Fame trainer-elect who saddled Unbridled Honor in a quest to saddle his first Preakness winner.

Although they bypassed the Kentucky Derby, the Fradkins, who bred the Preakness winner, and McCarthy indicated their intentions to run Rombauer in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (G1), the 1 ½-mile third jewel of the Triple Crown at Belmont Park.

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