Published: Mon, May 21, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Justify collects Preakness victory on muddy track, earns shot at Triple Crown

Justify collects Preakness victory on muddy track, earns shot at Triple Crown

And for many bettors, who made Justify a massive 2-to-5 favorite at post time, there was an air of expectation that Justify would likely duplicate that effort in the Preakness against a smaller field and head to Belmont with a chance to win the Triple Crown, just as Baffert's four previous Kentucky Derby winners had done.

Justify rounded the final turn and hit the top of the stretch winded but with the lead. "They went on him early and he kept pushing on me and pushing on me to see if they could wear me out".

At 1 3/16 miles, the Preakness is slightly shorter than the Kentucky Derby, and Bravazo and Tenfold, both of which skipped the race two weeks ago, nearly caught Justify at the end.

Baffert tied Lukas' record with his 14th Triple Crown victory and matched 19th-century trainer R.W. Walden with his seventh Preakness title.

Brown is well aware of the challenge awaiting Good Magic and jockey Jose Ortiz in taking down Justify, who is undefeated in four starts.

"It's been 25 years since I was blessed to win my first (Triple Crown race), which was here, and to go into it with Bob and (Baffert's wife) Jill and the whole crew". Bravazo edged Tenfold for third, and Good Magic was fourth, running out of gas at the end of the 1 3/16-mile race.

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A victory in the Belmont Stakes in NY on June 9 would earn trainer Bob Baffert his second USA thoroughbred racing Triple Crown in four years after American Pharoah achieved the feat in 2015. Jockey Mike Smith was anxious when he saw Good Magic over his shoulder and when Justify slipped early, and he was hoping there was enough left to get to the wire.

"I'm so happy that we got it done", Baffert said.

All five of Baffert's Derby winners have won the Preakness. "I've never had one run that fast here".

The superstar horse is drawing plenty of comparisons to American Pharoah. "He's just a great horse to handle all that pressure and keep on running". If the weather doesn't influence the race - Justify is the heavy favorite - it most certainly could have an impact on attendance after the event drew a record 140,327 in 2017.

"We've got leaks everywhere, people sitting at tables and tiles falling out", said Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer for the Stronach Group, which owns the track. "He just showed not only is he a big, beautiful, gorgeous horse, but he is all racehorse, and that's what it took to win".

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