Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon set the pace for most of the race, but Rombauer passed both horses down the stretch to pull off the victory at the 146th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course May 15.
Rombauer’s win was the first Triple Crown victory for jockey Flavien Prat and trainer Michael McCarthy. Prat began his career racing in his native France, but he began racing full time in North America in 2015.
“To be honest, when I left France, it was to do better than what I was doing in France,” Prat said in an interview with NBC after his Preakness victory. “… The Triple Crown, I didn’t know much about it. Since I’m here, I realize how important it is. There’s so much history behind these races. To win one, it’s amazing. To win the Preakness, it’s even better.”
Rombauer (11-1) ran in the middle of the pack for much of the race before making his move:
McCarthy told NBC that he wasn’t surprised Rombauer, the trainer’s first entrant in a Triple Crown race, won that way.
“That’s been him all along. I reached over my shoulder and said to somebody, ‘You know, he’s a little bit closer today but it looks like he’s traveling well,'” McCarthy said. “At the three-and-a-half-furlong pole, I saw some horses around him moving and not really going anywhere. Coming to the quarter pole, I started to get a little excited. … It was like an out-of-body experience. Fantastic.”
The run-up to the Preakness Stakes was filled with drama due to Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit testing positive for about double the allowable amount of the steroid betamethasone after the Derby. Legendary trainer Bob Baffert’s two horses in the Preakness — Medina Spirit and Concert Tour — had to pass more thorough testing protocols than the other eight horses in the race in order to run.
Medina Spirit finished third and Concert Tour, ninth.
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/PressBox