In the days leading up to the 146th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1), usracing.com is publishing profiles of the contenders. The 1 3/16-mile second leg of the Triple Crown is May 15 at Pimlico Race Course. Profiles will be updated with post positions and odds following the draw early next week.
By Richard Rosenblatt
By winning the El Camino Real Derby three months ago and finishing third in the Blue Grass (G2), Rombauer had enough qualifying points to run in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
The owners, John and Diane Fradkin, took a pass, opting to use an automatic berth – all fees paid — into the Preakness (via the win in the El Camino Real) and then move on to the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 5.
“That’s the plan,’’ said John Fradkin.
And so, Rombauer becomes one of many “new shooters” in the second leg of the Triple Crown. The son of Twirling Candy runs from off the pace, and trainer Michael McCarthy said with no early pace in the Blue Grass, his colt did not run one of his better races, finishing behind Essential Quality and Highly Motivated.
“The horse laid a little closer than I would have liked but ran a credible third (to Essential Quality and Highly Motivated).”
The plan calls for a weekend workout at Santa Anita, and then the trip to Pimlico.
With Derby winner Medina Spirit and stablemate Concert Tour the likely pacesetters, Rombauer could have a chance to hit the board in a field about half the size of the 19 horses that ran in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Rombauer has competed against some of the top 3-year-olds so he should not be overlooked here. He ran second in the American Pharoah (G2) to Get Her Number and ahead of Spielberg and was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) won by Essential Quality.
“He’s done everything and made a nice little progression from 2 to 3,” said McCarthy. “He’s put on a little weight. He’s a horse that takes pretty good care of himself, so he’s been pretty easy that way.”
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Owners: John and Diane Fradkin
Career record: 6-2-1-1
Career earnings: $290,500
Best Equibase speed figure: 100
Pedigree: Twirling Candy-Cashmere, by Cowboy Cal
Running style: Off the pace
Notes: Prat rode Hot Rod Charlie to a third-place finish in the Derby … Rombauer is 0-for-3 on dirt, his wins coming on turf at Del Mar and on the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields … Prat will be the sixth jockey to ride Rombauer in his seventh career start … This will be McCarthy’s first Preakness starter … Fradkin was a bond salesman living on the West Coast when he got into racing business in 1993, and then the breeding business in 1997. He says he breeds to sell horses, but Rombauer was among the exceptions because he was “an averaged sized horse” that made him “less than a sales prospect than we would have liked.’’
Over the years while working at The Associated Press, Rich Rosenblatt became a familiar name to legions of the horse racing fans and industry insiders with his award-winning articles on horse racing and his stories from the backstretch.
In addition to being an astute observer of sports, Rosenblatt is the co-author of The All-American Chili Cookbook. His work has been seen in just about every publication in the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time Magazine.