Medina Spirit leads Preakness Stakes 2021 odds after Baffert agrees to conditions

Preakness Stakes post positions, odds 2021: Horses, lineup, favorite, field, entries
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Kentucky Derby 147 champ Medina Spirit will run from the No. 3 spot in the gate at Pimlico in the 146th Preakness Stakes on May 15 with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert agreeing to a special set of conditions after the colt failed his post-Derby drug test. He opens as the 9-5 favorite.

The 2021 Preakness Stakes will air on Saturday, May 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app.

On Sunday, May 9, Baffert announced that Medina Spirit had 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone in a postrace drug test. Since last fall, using any steroids within 14 days before a race is prohibited in Kentucky. This is the latest in a slew of very visible failed drug tests for horses under the care of the seven-time Derby winner. At his initial press conference, Baffert said the horse had never been treated with the drug, 14 days prior or otherwise.

The Baffert camp requested a second test called a split sample. Churchill Downs slapped him with an immediate suspension from running any horses at the track, adding that, “if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner.”

On Tuesday morning, Baffert said Medina Spirit had been treated for dermatitis on his hind end with a topical ointment called Otomax, which contains betamethasone. The conditions Baffert agreed to with The Stronach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club include “rigorous testing and monitoring” and a “commitment from Bob Baffert to full transparency of medical and testing results that will allow for all results to be released to the public.”

Related: How to watch the 2021 Preakness Stakes

Baffert will also run Concert Tour (5-2), who will start from the No. 10 with Triple Crown-winning jockey Mike Smith in the irons. He fields Beautiful Gift in Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan.

Keepmeinmind (15-1) and Midnight Bourbon (5-1) join Medina Spirit as the only horses in the field of 10 to have competed in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.

D. Wayne Lukas’ Ram (30-1) is set to become the first horse sired by American Pharoah to run in a Triple Crown race.

limited crowd of up to 10,000 is expected to attend the Preakness while following social distancing guidelines.

NBC Sports will also air the Black-Eyed Susan the day before on Friday, May 14 from 5 to 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Related: What to know about the 2021 Preakness

Preakness Stakes 2021 odds, post positions, lineup, horses

Below are the post positions for the 2021 Preakness Stakes, including opening odds as of May 11.

1. Ram (30-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

2. Keepmeinmind (15-1)
Trainer: Robertino Diodoro
Jockey: David Cohen

3. Medina Spirit (9-5) – Morning-line favorite
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: John Velazquez

4. Crowded Trade (10-1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Javier Castellano

5. Midnight Bourbon (5-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

6. Rombauer (12-1)
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Jockey: Flavien Prat

7. France Go de Ina (20-1)
Trainer: Hideyuki Mori
Jockey: Joel Rosario

8. Unbridled Honor (15-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Luis Saez

9. Risk Taking (15-1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

10. Concert Tour (5-2)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith

Watch the Preakness on Saturday, May 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5 to 7:15 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app. 

Irad Ortiz sets single-season record with 77th stakes win

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NEW YORK – Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earned his record 77th single-season North American stakes victory when he guided Dr B to victory in the $200,000 Go for Wand at Aqueduct.

The 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico broke the old mark of 76 set by the late Hall of Fame rider Garrett Gomez in 2007.

“This is great. Amazing feeling,” said Ortiz, Jr., who won the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey from 2018-20. “Gomez did it in 2007 and he was a great rider, one of the best in the game. I’m so happy just to be a part of this. I love this sport.”

Ortiz Jr. won the Belmont Stakes with Mo Donegal in June to go with Breeders’ Cup victories in the Juvenile, Filly & Mare Sprint and Sprint. He also earned nine other Grade 1 wins in New York, including Life Is Good in the Woodward and Whitney and Nest in the Alabama and Coaching Club Oaks. He won riding titles at Belmont’s spring-summer meet and Saratoga’s summer meet.

Ortiz Jr. leads North American riders with 304 overall victories this year. His purse earnings totaled over $35.8 million going into Saturday’s races, which already surpassed his single-season record of $34.1 million in 2019.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”