Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
While Medina Spirit wasn’t a complete dark horse in the Kentucky Derby, his win Saturday was still a bit of a surprise. Even trainer Bob Baffert wasn’t convinced that his horse had the goods to pull the upset.
“I think he’s a top 10. Usually, I come in here with a top five,” Baffert said, per Marcus Hersh of the Daily Racing Form. “Things are going to have to go his way if he’s going to get there.”
Of course, Medina Spirit did get there and will now have an opportunity to notch another jewel in the Triple Crown in May 15’s Preakness Stakes.
Though the field has not been confirmed, Medina Spirit is expected to run in the Preakness.
When: Saturday, May 15
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore
TV and Live Stream: NBC and NBCSports.com
Post Time: 5:45 p.m. ET
While Medina Spirit should have an opportunity to pick up another win, the expected field is going to provide some stiff competition. For one thing, several horses will be more rested than the Kentucky Derby champ.
According to Byron King of BloodHorse, many of the Derby’s participants are expected to skip the second leg of the Triple Crown. Among the shooters—horses that didn’t participate in the Derby—could be another Baffert-trained horse, Concert Tour.
“[I need to] sit down and talk to [owner Gary] West,” Baffert said, per King. “He wants that horse to develop, don’t get in a rush with things. We know he’s a really good horse.”
The Brad H. Cox-trained Caddo River is another potential contender who could give Medina Spirit a run. Caddo River took second in the Arkansas Derby but did not compete at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality and fellow Cox-trained horse Mandaloun—the Derby runner-up—might also be back for the Preakness.
“We were so grateful that both of our horses ran as well as they did,” Cox said, per John Clay of the Lexington Herald Leader. “Essential Quality got a tough trip being so wide, but coming that close to a Derby win makes me want more. We’ll be back.”
Whether they will take part in the Preakness or will wait for the Belmont Stakes on June 5 remains to be seen. However, Essential Quality—undefeated in five races prior to The Run for the Roses—would be one of the favorites if he does run.
The reality for Medina Spirit is that winning back-to-back jewel races is difficult, and we’re not talking about a dominant horse. The Derby winner finished second at both the Santa Anita Derby and the San Felipe Stakes prior to Saturday’s triumph.
Don’t expect Medina Spirit to be racing for the Triple Crown at the Belmont.
2021 Preakness Probables
France Go De Ina
Get Her Number
Probables per US Racing.