Preakness 2021: Let’s Find Some Value

The 2021 Preakness Stakes will be Race 13 on May 15th at Pimlico. Post time is set for 5:47 PM CT. This Grade I race is one and 3/16 miles and has a purse of $1,000,000. The race is for three-year olds and is the second race in the triple crown. There are ten horses in the field this year. Last year’s winner was Swiss Skydiver. Let’s take a look at the rankings for everyone in this year’s field.

The two Bob Baffert horse rate out as the best two horses in this field. Concert Tour skipped the Kentucky Derby to Prep for this one and was thought of as Baffert’s best horse coming into this year. Concert Tour was 3-0 and looking like a Derby contender before a third place finish in the Arkansas Derby. But he was super impressive in the Rebel Stakes before that one, he is the most talented horse and he is fresh.

Medina Spirit comes off of a controversial Kentucky Derby win. He tested positive for betamethasone after the race. Even after Baffert said he didn’t know about it, Baffert was suspended from racing at Churchill Downs. But Medina Spirit has been allowed to run in the Preakness and passed his first pre-race drug test. He was a surprise Derby winner, he didn’t grade out as a top contender and was put on the lead exactly where he needed to be for the win. He’ll need to do that again, but there’s a lot of reasons to fade him here.

Crowded Trade has only three career races, but he’s has some really good speed figures and has finished in the top three in each of his races. He finished second ahead of Highly Motivated in the Gotham Stakes and third in the Wood Memorial. He’s 10-1 because he’s lightly raced and the New York prep circuit he comes from was definitely down this year.

Midnight Bourbon is the second of three Derby horses that race again here. He always runs a good race and shows effort. He was too far off the pace in the Derby and ended up finishing 6th. I could see him running into a similar problem with Concert Tour and France Go de Ina pushing Medina Spirit for pace in this race, but don’t leave him off the exotics.

Keepmeinmind is the final of the Derby runners to run again here. I liked this horse as a 50-1 longshot who could hit the board, but not win in the Derby. He broke really slowly and dropped back to last for most of the Derby. He was forced to go very wide down the stretch, but was still closing hard late to finish 7th. He finished third in last year’s Breeders Cup Juvenile behind Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie and has been starting to look like he can return to that form. He’ll like the added pace in this race and he’ll have more room. I really like this horse here.

Rombauer has faced good competition before and he’s improved his speed figure in each of his last four. He finished third in the Blue Grass in his last behind Essential Quality and Highly Motivated. He beat Keepmeinmind in that one (but that one was really a two horse race, Rombauer and Keepmeinmind were a ways back). With his positive trend line, I wouldn’t write Rombauer off here either.

Ram is a bit of a surprise in this field and a wildcard for handicappers. He won an allowance race at Churchill Downs on Derby Day in his last, but hasn’t faced any of these Derby Trail runners before. He’s improved in each of his last two races, but this son of American Pharaoh faces a big step up in class here.

France Go de Ina is another wildcard. Has only four races in his career and those were in Japan and the UAE. He finished 6th in the UAE Derby in his last. He faces a step up in class in here. He’s a horse that wants to be at front, but I think it will be hard for him to hang around down the stretch.

Risk Taking looked like he was improving before a bad showing in the Wood Memorial; finishing 7th. He hasn’t shown the speed to make me think he’ll contend with the top speed in this race.

Unbridled Honor finished second to King Fury in his last in the Lexington Stakes. He ran very well in the slop there, but was also bolstered by a a very good trip. He hasn’t faced the top talent in this field yet and hasn’t shown a whole lot in anything except that last race in the slop.

Below we take a look at each horse’s last three speed figures.

I’ve ran the Preakness 1,000 times in simulations. Below are the results of those races.

Quick Wrap Up and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 10 Concert Tour

My Bet: 10 to Win, 10-2 Exacta, 10-4 Exacta, 4-2/5/6 Exacta

Superfecta: 10-2/3-4/6-5

Concert Tour is my top choice given the time off he’s had and the questions around Medina Spirit. I’m going to use a longer shot in my exacta. I like Keepmeinmind, but I can see using Rombauer or Crowded Trade too. I think there’s value in using some of those longer shots. I also think there’s some in fading Medina Spirit, his last race was a big jump in speed rating and that sort of effort takes a toll, especially if there was some of drugs involved, I prefer to stay away here at 9/5. Looking for the big payout? Use Crowded Trade with either Keepmeinmind, Midnight Bourbon or Rombauer. Crowded Trade will try to run down Medina Spirit and Concert Tour late, but he could do it.

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