The 2021 Preakness Stakes was one of the most exciting televised races in recent years. It saw three-year-old thoroughbred colt Rombauer winning at 12-1 odds and finishing the 1 and 3/16 miles distance in just under 1 minute and 53 seconds.
Rombauer was one of the more favored horses going into the race, but was overshadowed by the controversial Medina Spirit and breeder Bob Baffert. In the 2021 Preakness, Rombauer showed why he doesn’t need any performance-enhancing substances.
He was born in April 2018 in Kentucky and was destined for greatness even as a foal.
Rombauer made his racing debut at a Del Mar track in July of 2020. He got off to a slow start, falling towards the back as the horses turned the stretch. With about 200 yards to go, he was still in sixth place, but kicked it into gear and won by half a length.
It was in his first race that Rombauer showed the resilience that has been a constant throughout his racing career. Even after finishing in sixth at another race in Del Mar, his trainer, Michael McCarthy was impressed with the strength and quickness he showed on the track in general.
More successes to start his three-year-old 2021 campaign, most notably a win at the El Camino Real Derby which earned him the enviable position of being able to race at the 2021 Preakness and compete on the biggest stage in horse racing.
The 2021 Preakness
At Pimlico Race Track, he and experienced jockey Flavien Prat won by three and a half lengths over Midnight Bourbon and two more lengths over Medina Spirit, leaving the rest of the competition in his dust. After his performance at the 2021 Preakness, Rombauer earned all the carrots and sugar cubes he wanted.
It’s just a shame that his victory last summer was overshadowed by the performance-enhancing substance controversy from Bob Baffert and Medina Spirit. His third place finish at the Belmont Stakes less than a month later also shows that he’s a winning thoroughbred who can finish races consistently.
Watching and re-watching Rombauer and Prat’s finish at the Preakness is a hard thing not to be inspired by. He absolutely turned on the jets in an incredible display of stamina and power. Breeders John and Diane Fradkin were obviously elated and this isn’t the first time they’ve had a horse win a graded stakes race.
California Flag won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and Cambiocorsa won multiple graded stakes. Simply put, the Fradkins know how to breed winning horses, and Rombauer is their biggest winner yet, earning them over $1 million dollars.
A Storied Career
The Fradkins usually raise horses to sell at auction, and it looked as though Rombauer would be going in that direction in April of 2020, but his sale was postponed and ultimately never happened due to the timing in connection with COVID-19.
That turned out to be very fortuitous and an excellent decision by the Fradkins as they raised a winning thoroughbred who has been their best success yet.
Rombauer will turn four years old in April. Healthy racehorses typically don’t retire until they’re eight to ten years old, but he unfortunately suffered an injury while training at the end of December in California. The Fradkins decided to call it a career for Rombauer who was projected to race in the Dubai World Cup and Grade 1 Pacific Classic this year.
Nobody expected Rombauer to be able to have the kind of success he did. He defied the odds and won a triple crown race. Rombauer is a horse who is impossible not to love, and better yet, he’s the feel good story that America needs to remember.