Published: Mon, May 21, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Baffert, Justify Hope To Shine At Wet Preakness

Baffert, Justify Hope To Shine At Wet Preakness

Since 1932, the order of Triple Crown races has seen the running of the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes.

American Pharoah was the last horse to win the Triple Crown in 2015, but there had been a 37 year drought prior to the horse completing the historic feat.

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

The Kentucky Derby hero will line up against seven rivals for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg on the US Triple Crown trail. Three years after American Pharoah won at Pimlico in a driving rain storm, Mike Smith rode Justify through thick fog that engulfed the racetrack. The 1-5 favorite beat Bravazo by a half-length, with Tenfold in third and Good Magic fading to fourth. "It just wasn't a good trip", Good Magic trainer Chad Brown said.

"That was a nail-biter". "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". "He's just a great horse to handle all that pressure and keep on running".

Jockey Mike Smith, 52, became the oldest jockey to win the Preakness. That was a good horse (Good Magic) and it was like they had their own private match race.

"Unbelievable. It's a dream come true, to be honest with you", Smith said after the race.

"It was a nail-biter", Baffert said in the immediate aftermath of the 1 3/16-mile showcase.

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.

But the 1-2 favourite had enough at the end to seize the victory before a crowd of 134,487 at Pimlico in Baltimore.

The weather also brought back memories of 2015, when a sudden deluge at post time made the race hard to watch.

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.

Baffert has never lost the middle jewel of the Triple Crown after winning the Derby with Silver Charm, Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), American Pharoah (2015) and now Justify having done the double.

As for his chances of joining American Pharoah as a Triple Crown victor, Baffert remains optimistic.

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