Medina Spirit, Concert Tour Get First Look at Pimlico


About eight hours before the May 11 post position draw for the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1), it seemed like any other morning four days before the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) winner Medina Spirit  had a leisurely one-mile jog while traveling the opposite way around Pimlico Race Course

He was followed by trainer Bob Baffert’s other starter in the May 15 classic for 3-year-olds, Gary and Mary West’s Concert Tour , who mirrored Medina Spirit’s morning exercise.

Of course, traveling the wrong way seemed apropos Tuesday considering this edition the Preakness will unfold like none other since 1968.

In the aftermath of the May 9 bombshell that Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit had tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone and could be stripped of his victory in the Run for the Roses, calling someone a Kentucky Derby winner seems speculative until the results of a split-sample are announced and a final ruling is rendered.

It was the first positive drug test for a Kentucky Derby winner since the 1968 edition when Dancer’s Image was ultimately disqualified after a lengthy court battle.

Though Churchill Downs barred Baffert from entering horses at the Louisville track, as of Tuesday morning there was no official word from Maryland Jockey Club officials that Medina Spirit or Concert Tour, who did not run in the Kentucky Derby, would be blocked from racing in Saturday’s classic.

Baffert has said that Medina Spirit was not treated with betamethasone.

Later Tuesday morning, Baffert announced that Medina Spirit had dermatitis on his hind end prior to the Kentucky Derby and was treated with an anti-fungal ointment, Otomax. Baffert said he has been informed that one of the substances in Otomax is betamethasone.

In the meantime, with Baffert in Kentucky, assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes reported that both Medina Spirit and Rebel Stakes (G2) winner Concert Tour returned from their first visit to the Pimlico track in fine shape.

“They had a long travel day (Monday from Kentucky). They handled the trip very well. We’re here early. It’s Tuesday, so we just gave them a jog day today and we’ll gallop tomorrow,” Barnes said. “Everyone looks wonderful. Couldn’t be happier.”

Barnes said Medina Spirit, a son of Protonico  , has displayed no ill effects from his gate-to-wire victory in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby.

“Medina Spirit feels very good. He had high energy this morning. I think he looks great,” Barnes said. “You never know how much (the Derby) took out of him. He certainly wasn’t tired afterwards. We’ve had other horses who would lay down for a couple of days afterwards but he was on his toes and ate his feed.”

Concert Tour, a Street Sense   colt, sat out the Kentucky Derby after finishing third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) as a 3-10 favorite, suffering his first loss in four career starts.

“He had two hard races (at Oaklawn Park) and it always helps to have some extra weeks between races,” Barnes said. “He’s a light horse, so he’s got his weight picked back up and his energy level is great. He should be a fresh horse. That was the idea of skipping (the Derby). You get two more weeks and you have a little fresher horse.”

The morning activities also included a 1 1/2-mile gallop by Preakness candidate Ram .

“He went well. Everything is good. I let him breeze a little bit in the stretch so he could catch his stride,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.

An American Pharoah   ridgling owned by Christina Baker and William Mack, Ram entered the Preakness picture after notching an allowance win on the May 1 Kentucky Derby Day undercard at Churchill Downs.

The Japanese entrant, France Go de Ina, was scheduled to be taken to the track later in the morning.

The rest of the probable starters had yet to arrive at Pimlico as of 10 a.m. ET.

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