The winner of the Preakness Stakes is not in question as Rombauer was able to overcome odds of 12/1 and pull away from Midnight Bourbon down the stretch to capture the second jewel in the Triple Crown by three-and-a-half lengths.
However, the result of the Kentucky Derby is still up in the air and it's unclear as to when it will be finalised.
Medina Spirit was the first three-year-old to cross the finish line at Churchill Downs ahead of Mandaloun, apparently giving trainer Bob Baffert his record seventh Kentucky Derby victory. However, it was revealed a couple of days later that the race winner had tested positive for illegal levels of the anti-inflammatory betamethasone.
The Hall of Fame trainer said in an impromptu news conference from his stables that there were a number of options they would pursue. Baffert mentioned at the time that a split sample would be tested, not only for betamethasone but for DNA to ensure that the sample was actually from Medina Spirit.
He later backtracked slightly and intimated that an ointment used to treat a skin condition might have contained the substance, accounting for the results of the test. After an agreement with the Maryland Racing Commission allowed Medina Spirit and Concert Tour to run in the Preakness Stakes, a third-place finish eliminated any chance for the Derby winner to sweep the Triple Crown.
In further developments, the New York Racing Association suspended Baffert temporarily on May 17, prohibiting him from entering horses or occupying stall space at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga. Consequently, Baffert will not be running any horses in the Belmont Stakes on June 5.
As of Tuesday, Medina Spirit's split sample had failed to leave Churchill Downs, let alone be tested. This means the Mandaloun camp may be in limbo for quite some time regarding whether or when the Brad Cox-trained colt will be named the Kentucky Derby champion.
Belmont Stakes field likely to be top class
With the Belmont Stakes still over two weeks away, getting a firm handle on the potential field is a little like handling a piece of jelly. It appears that even though the Triple Crown is not on the line, the race could include some top entries which are capable of producing an exciting contest.
They should be joined by Hot Rod Charlie, who was third at Churchill Downs, as well as ninth-place finisher Known Agenda. The 15th and 17th-placed horses, Brooklyn Strong and Rock Your World respectively, should also feature.