Shall we refer to him as ‘Romp'-bauer? Because that's exactly what he did (!) romping home and snatching the Second Jewel at odds of 11-1.
The son of TWIRLING CANDY was ridden by Flavien Prat, trained by Michael MCarthy, and owned by John Fradkin and Diane Fradkin.
ROMBAUER took a tracking trip, not too far behind the dueling leaders, MEDINA SPIRIT and MIDNIGHT BOURBON, through opening quarters of 23.77 and 46.93.
He raced about two lengths off the lead, in between horses in mid pack throughout the backside, before unleashing his run at the top of the stretch, powering past the tiring leaders and drawing off to win by three and a half lengths. MIDNIGHT BOURBON ran on for second, MEDINA SPIRIT faded to third.
The final time was an impressive 1:53.62, which was just .62 seconds from tying SECRETARIAT's record of 1:53 even.
"Just really surreal. All of it," said winning trainer Michael McCarthy. "Watching live, going back to the Jumbotron, when he hit the front, I don't think I said a word. I certainly didn't root. At least I don't think I did."
ROMBAUR was 12-1 on the morning-line, which held up by post time. Recall how the connections elected to skip the Kentucky Derby in favor of the Preakness Stakes. Today their colt proved fit and ready to roll. He posted a sharp 5F workout on May 8th leading up to the race, going :59.80 as the 4th fastest of 56 works at that distance.
"I'm stunned, but not totally surprised, if that makes any sense? The horse had been touting himself here all week. His last two works were very, very good."
"I thought the horse would run well. Turning up the backside, I was a little concerned. He's usually a little bit farther back than that." McCarthy also said.
Winning rider Flavien Prat came out victorious in his Preakness Stakes debut.
"I had a great trip," said Prat. "We broke well. Never intend to rush him. Naturally down the backside, he was traveling well and was passing horses one by one. So, I was pretty confident going to the three-eighths pole, and then I was behind the two favorites in the race, and I was traveling well, and I thought, well, maybe if he switched [leads] and gave me a good kick, I might be able to run them down, which he did."
"He was pretty on his toes before the race," Prat also said. "The groom and pony girl who were with me, they did a good job, and we tried to get him to relax, and it worked out well."
MIDNIGHT BOURBON, who finished a respectable 6th in the Kentucky Derby, was 5-1 on the morning-line before being bet down to 5-2, alternating with MEDINA SPIRIT as the top favorite.
"He was away beautifully," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "When he went under the wire for the first time I was thinking I wish the Derby had been like that. He ran really hard. He really did."
MEDINA SPIRIT stumbled out of the gate but was able to secure the lead for John Velazquez, but had no response for his rivals in deep stretch.
ROMBAUER paid $25.60 to win, $10.00 to place, and $5.20. He is by TWIRLING CANDY out of CASHMERE by COWBOY CAL.
He improves his record to 3 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 7 total starts. He pushes his earnings to $890,600 and earns his highest speed figure to date.
The connections answered questions regarding ROMBAUR's potential start in the next leg of the Triple Crown series, the Belmont Stakes (G1). Is he ready to go?
"You'd have to think so," trainer Michael McCarthy said. "See how he comes out of it, and we'll take a good look tomorrow."
"I thought that our best chance of a race to win was actually the Belmont," winning owner Fradkin said. "I think he's going to like the distance."
Source: Christina Bossinakis, ThoroughbredDailyNews, Ron Flatter, Horse Racing Nation