In the days leading up to the 146th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1), usracing.com is profiling the contenders. The 1 3/16-mile second leg of the Triple Crown is May 15. Profiles will be updated with post positions and odds following the draw, now set for Tuesday, May 11.
By Ed McNamara
This speedy colt emerged as a serious 3-year-old by leading throughout a 4 1/4-length runaway in Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes.
Heading into the Arkansas Derby on April 10, Concert Tour looked like Bob Baffert’s best chance for a record seventh Kentucky Derby win. How little we know.
Instead, he tired after stalking Caddo River through quick fractions and faded to third as the 1-5 favorite. It was his first loss in four career starts.
“It was a very deflating race for us,” Baffert said. “We really thought we had the goods there, but for some reason he came up short.”
Gary West figured Concert Tour should skip the Derby, and he did.
“I never had an owner who had a nice horse talk me out of running in the Kentucky Derby,” Baffert said. “He said let’s give the horse a couple weeks and maybe run him in the Preakness if he’s doing well.”
Apparently, he is, and he’ll give Baffert a chance to win his eighth Preakness, which would break 19th-century horseman R.W. Walden’s 133-year-old record.
Concert Tour turned in two sharp 5-furlong breezes at Churchill Downs, including one May 9 of 1:00 2/5, and will be entered for Saturday’s 146th Preakness.
“We’ll run in it and see if he’s as good as we think he is,” Baffert said. “Or maybe he’s not as good as we think he is. We’ll give him a chance. I still think he’s a good horse.”
Baffert has won a record 17 Triple Crown races, so his opinion generally is pretty accurate. Don’t be surprised if Concert Tour rebounds dramatically from his Arkansas Derby dud.
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith
Owner: Gary and Mary West
Career record: 4-3-0-0
Career earnings: $856,600
Best Equibase speed rating: 106
Pedigree: Street Sense-Purse Strings, by Tapit
Running style: Front-runner
Notes: Like Baffert’s 2018 Triple Crown winner, Justify, Concert Tour didn’t run as a 2-year-old. Concert Tour didn’t debut until Jan. 15. The Preakness will be his fourth stakes … Mike Smith replaces Joel Rosario, who will ride Japan-based France Go de Ina. Smith rode Preakness probable Midnight Bourbon to a sixth-place finish in the Derby after a troubled start and a wide trip … West and his wife, Mary, also owned Maximum Security, who was disqualified from first in the 2019 Derby and placed 17th for interference … The Wests have owned horses for more than 30 years, winning numerous major stakes but never a Triple Crown event.
Ed McNamara is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for 35 years. He has handicapped races for ESPN.com, Newsday and The Record of New Jersey. He is the author of “Cajun Racing: From the Bush Tracks to the Triple Crown” and co-author of “The Most Glorious Crown,” a chronicle of the first 12 Triple Crown champions.