John and Diane Fradkin’s Kentucky-bred Rombauer rallied strongly in the stretch and pulled away late from fellow Kentucky-bred Midnight Bourbon to win the 146h Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course on May 15. The victory marks the 102nd time that a Kentucky-bred has captured the second jewel in racing’s Triple Crown.
Zedan Racing’s Medina Spirit, the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner two weeks earlier, set most of the pace but faded to third in the stretch when he was overtaken by Midnight Bourbon who held the lead briefly until Rombauer stormed home.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Rombauer raced in between rivals in sixth position early. He moved into contention around the far turn and put in a strong bid in the stretch, collaring Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon. He sailed past the early leaders to record a decisive 3 ½-length win over Midnight Bourbon, covering the 1 3/16 miles in 1:53.62. Rombauer earned a fees-paid berth into the Preakness by winning the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields in Northern California earlier this year.
It was the first Classic win for trainer Michael McCarthy and, also, with his very first starter in a Triple Crown race.
Rombauer, a son of Twirling Candy out of the Cowboy Cal mare Cashmere, bypassed the Kentucky Derby, but McCarthy indicated that they intend to run the Preakness winner in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (G1).
“I’m so proud of this horse, everybody involved,” said McCarthy. “It means a lot to be here and participate on a day like this. I’m happy for the Fradkins. It just goes to show you that small players in the game can be successful, as well. Hats off to everybody. I wish my family could be here. Fantastic.”