At a rain-soaked and foggy Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, Kentucky Derby champion Justify splashed to victory in the Preakness Stakes, setting up a bid for racing immortality in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
The will now attempt to become the only undefeated Triple Crown victor besides Seattle Slew in 1977 and just the 12th horse overall to sweep the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, three storied races run at varying lengths in different states over five weeks. I'm pretty disappointed. I know this horse very well and he's not a horse to be on the lead. "I would have liked to see a different scenario, maybe where we're just off the pace a little bit, we weren't getting pressed on the fence the whole way". In 2018, the colt has won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and finished second to Magnum Moon in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, but his handlers opted to skip the Kentucky Derby.
With an announced 134,487 in attendance, the track that has stood just outside of Baltimore since 1870 is now at risk of losing the diamond that makes this rough shine, as the Preakness, which has been hosted by the legendary track since 1873. "This is his hardest race that he's had".
Two down, one to go for Justify. "They tested his fitness today", Smith said after his second Preakness win and first since 1993.
From the beginning, Justify and Good Magic classically dueled one another for the first three-quarters of the race. 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 told broadcaster NBC.More news: Trump to deny funds to clinics that discuss abortion
More news: NAFTA's fate hinges on political "flexibility", says Mexico
More news: Who are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's bridesmaids and page boys?
The strong showing expected from Justify energizes this year's talk of a Triple Crown victor. Take a look below as we go post by post to give you the rundown on every horse racing this weekend at the Preakness Stakes. Baffert's four Derby winners - also Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem - all took the Preakness.
American Pharoah was also the last Derby victor to take the Preakness.
The Triple Crown of horse racing is now in play.
"He got a little exhausted", Smith said. I watched him all week.
While Justify's victory hardly came as a shock, don't call it an easy win. He didn't blow away the field of three Derby horses and four new challengers, but he showed something else "These great horses, they just define themselves when they get in that situation", Baffert said.