Justify Wins Preakness Eyes Belmont Triple Crown

by Samuel Abasi Posted on May 19th, 2018

Baltimore, Maryland, USA: With jockey Mike Smith in the saddle, Kentucky Derby winner Justify on Saturday won the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, setting up a Triple Crown run at Belmont – and giving trainer Bob Baffert his record-tying seventh Preakness victory.

Bravazo finished second and Tenfold took third in the 1 3/16-mile race, in a thick fog and on a soggy, sloppy track .

Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic pressed the pace alongside Justify the whole way but could not keep up with the lightly raced colt. By the end, Good Magic had dropped back to fourth, as Bravazo came up late for second and Tenfold charged in for third.

It’s the sixth time in six tries that Baffert has won the Preakness after winning the Kentucky Derby. His seven Preakness victories matches the record set by R.W. Walden in the 1800s.

Justify can become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner —the first since Baffert saddled American Pharoah in 2015—  if he wins the Belmont on June 9.

Justify came in as the heavy favorite 1-2 in the field of eight horses which was expected to be a two-horse race between Justify and Good Magic.

The Kentucky Derby winner drew the seventh post in Saturday’s race — the same post he had at the Derby.

Good Magic drew the fifth post and is the second pick at 3-1. Good Magic finished 2-1/2 lengths behind Justify two weeks ago at Churchill Downs.

This will be the fourth consecutive year the top-two finishers in the Kentucky Derby have a rematch in the Preakness. In the last two years, the Derby runner-up finished ahead of the Derby winner in the Preakness.

Justify ran an impressive race in the mud at Churchill Downs on May 5. Conditions will be similar in Baltimore — it has rained all week, and more on race day would make for another sloppy track.

Justify had a bruised heel more than a week ago, and there were reports of concerns it could get irritated from a couple of days working out in mud and how the surface might complicate the start.

EARLIER: Justify Wins Kentucky Derby, Breaks “Curse of Apollo” – Louisville, Kentucky, USA: won the 144th annual Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Louisville, on Saturday – in the rain. Good Magic ridden by Jose Ortiz placed second and Audible ridden by Jockey Javier Castellano placed third.

Justify wasn’t even eligible for the Kentucky Derby until he won the Santa Anita Derby April 7. That victory gave him enough points to gain entry to the field.

He didn’t race as a 2-year-old but has won all four of his races as a 3-year-old and became the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2-year-old since 1892 – the so called “Curse of Apollo”.

A physical specimen, Justify cost $500,000 at auction as a yearling and is owned by a complicated partnership but wore the silks of Win Star Farms of Kentucky on Saturday.

The partnership placed him with trainer Bob Baffert, the best trainer of dirt horses in the United States. Baffert trained him conservatively and his strategy paid off.

Here’s a look at the 20 horses entered in the 144th Kentucky Derby.

1. Firenze Fire (61-1)
Owner: Mr. Amore Stable
Trainer: Jason Servis
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Record: 4-1-0 in nine starts
Firenze Fire won three of his first four races as a 2-year-old before finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

2. Free Drop Billy (42-1)
Owner: Albaugh Family Stables
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Robby Albarado
Record: 2-3-2 in eight starts
After winning his maiden race at Churchill Downs last June, Free Drop Billy has competed in nothing but graded stakes. He was ninth in November’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar.

3. Promises Fulfilled (48-1)
Owner: Robert Baron
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Record: 3-0-1 in five starts
Promises Fulfilled was ninth in his last race, the Florida Derby on March 31. The horse was purchased for $37,000 at the Keeneland September 2016 Yearling Sale.

4. Flameaway (47-1)
Owner: John Oxley
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Jose Lezcano
Record: 5-2-0 in nine starts
With nine career races, Flameaway will be one of the most experienced horses in the field. He finished sixth in his only race at Churchill Downs, the Grade 3 Iroquois last September.

5. Audible (6-1) Third
Owners: China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Record: 4-0-1 in five starts
Trying to take the same path as Pletcher’s 2017 Derby winner Always Dreaming, who also entered after a victory in the Florida Derby. Audible won the Florida Derby by 3 lengths over Hofburg.

6. Good Magic (9-1) Second
Owners: E Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Record: 2-2-1 in five starts
Won the Eclipse Award for 2-year-old juvenile male after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at 11-1 odds last November. In April won the Blue Grass by 11/2 lengths over Flameaway.

7. Justify (3-1) Winner
Owners: China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith
Record: 3-0-0 in three starts
Justify will try to become the first Derby winner since Apollo in 1882 who didn’t race as a 2-year-old. The horse won the Santa Anita Derby by 3 lengths over Bolt d’Oro on April 7.

8. Lone Sailor (24-1)
Owner: G M B Racing
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: James Graham
Record: 1-3-1 in eight starts
Gayle Benson is the widow of Tom Benson, the former owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. He died March 15.

9. Hofburg (25-1)
Owner: Juddmonte Farms
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Record: 1-1-0 in three starts
Given his relative inexperience and strong stretch run in the Florida Derby, where he finished second, Hofburg is considered by many this year’s wiseguy horse for the Derby.

10. My Boy Jack (5-1)
Owners: Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Monomoy Stables
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
Record: 3-3-2 in 10 starts
The Desormeauxs are the first trainer-jockey sibling duo in the Derby since Randy (jockey) and Gerald (trainer) Romero with Dixieland Heat, who was 12th in 1993.

11. Bolt d’Oro (8-1)
Owner/trainer: Mick Ruis
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Record: 4-1-1 in six starts
Bolt d’Oro won his first three career starts and was the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before finishing third. He was second to Justify in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

12. Enticed (55-1)
Owner: Godolphin
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Record: 3-1-1 in six starts
McLaughlin said Enticed deserved to win the Wood Memorial after some bumping down the stretch, but Vino Rosso was held up as the winner after an inquiry and Enticed was second.

13. Bravazo (68-1)
Owner: Calumet Farm
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Record: 3-1-1 in eight starts
Bravazo earned his spot in the Derby by winning the Grade 2 Risen Star on Feb. 17 at Oaklawn Park at 21-1 odds.

14. Mendelssohn (6-1)
Owners: Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Record: 4-1-0 in seven starts

Mendelssohn was the highest-priced American yearling of 2016, a $3 million purchase at the Keeneland September 2016 Yearling Sale. He won the UAE Derby by 18 lengths on March 31.

15. Instilled Regard (99-1)
Owner: Oxo Equine
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke
Record: 2-2-1 in seven starts

Hollendorfer originally declared Instilled Regard off the Derby trail after his fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby but later reconsidered.

16. Magnum Moon (13-1)
Owners: Lawana and Robert Low
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Luis Saez
Record: 4-0-0 in four starts

His first race was on Jan. 13, a 4½-length score at Gulfstream Park. He’ll try to become the first Kentucky Derby winner who didn’t race as a 2-year-old since Apollo accomplished the feat in 1882.

17. Solomini (67-1)
Owner: Zayat Stables, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Record: 1-3-2 in six starts
Solomini will give Zayat Stables its first Derby starter since American Pharoah, who won the Triple Crown in 2015.

18. Vino Rosso (15-1)
Owners: Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
Record: 3-0-1 in five starts
Vino Rosso won the Wood Memorial by 3 lengths over Enticed.

19. Noble Indy (58-1)
Owners: WinStar Farm and Repole Stable
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Record: 3-0-1 in four starts
Noble Indy got passed by Lone Sailor in the final furlong of the Louisiana Derby before battling back along the rail to win.

20. Combatant (77-1)
Owners: Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Record: 1-3-1 in seven starts
Post positions have been a problem for Combatant. He broke from theNo. 9 post in a field of nine for the Arkansas Derby and from No. 10 in a field of 10 for the Rebel on March 17.

The Odds are from Kentucky derby site.

Forty-five years ago today, Secretariat set the still-standing record in the Kentucky Derby, running the 1 1/4 mile race in 1:59 2/5 minutes. But what was even more astonishing is that the colt ran each quarter mile faster than the one before.

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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