Stage set for Triple Crown bid as Justify wins PreaknessField Level Media
May 19. 2018 9:36PM
Justify sped to the front out of the gate, battled with Good Magic until the turn for home, and pulled away in the stretch before holding off late-running Bravazo in the final strides to win the 143rd Preakness Stakes on Saturday at a foggy, muddy Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
The Bob Baffert-trained colt won has won all five of his career starts, three of them in the off-going, with all five of those wins over the past 17 weeks.
Justify heads to the Belmont Stakes on June 9 as the 36th horse in Triple Crown history to win the first two races for precocious 3-year-old equine athletes.
With Mike Smith aboard, Justify went the 1 3/16th-mile race in 1 minute, 55.93 seconds. The 1-5 favorite beat Bravazo by a half-length, with Tenfold in third and Good Magic fading to fourth.
Justify, the chestnut son of Scat Daddy out of the Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, became the first horse to win the Derby without being raced as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882.
The race took place under foggy conditions and a sloppy track after a week of rain in the Baltimore area. Even with the mud, the track at Pimlico was considered speed-favoring, and Justify had plenty of that as he was at or near the lead throughout the race.
Baffert has won this race seven times, tying the record.
Twelve horses have won the Triple Crown, with the Baffert-trained American Pharoah capturing the three races in 2015 to end a 37-year drought.
Twenty-three other horses have won the first two jewels of the Triple Crown and have not captured the Belmont Stakes, most recently California Chrome in 2014.