Baffert Blessed to Have Another Triple Crown Contender with Justify
Saturday’s Preakness Stakes is going to have a very heavy favorite at post time, as Kentucky Derby winner Justify is likely to be the odds-on favorite when post positions are drawn Wednesday. Justify is now 4-for-4 to start his career after another superb performance in winning the 144th Kentucky Derby (race video). Justify’s trainer Bob Baffert is also 4-for-4 in the Preakness when he brings a Derby winner to Pimlico to run in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Baffert’s Kentucky Derby winners that have gone on to win the Preakness include Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002) and American Pharoah (2015), who went on to win the Belmont Stakes and complete the Triple Crown in 2015.
Along with putting himself in position to win another Triple Crown, Baffert can climb a pair of prestigious lists with a victory Saturday.
Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas are tied for second all-time in Preakness victories behind Robert Wyndham Walden (seven). Baffert also has 13 victories in Triple Crown races, tied with Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons and one behind Lukas (14) for the all-time lead.
Lukas will saddle a pair of horses in this year’s Preakness with Bravazo and Sporting Chance. If you like Justify and believe betting on a heavy favorite is ‘justified’, then consider that Lukas believes Justify is a hell of a horse and is tough enough to return in two weeks and win again following his Kentucky Derby victory.
“You’ve got to have a horse that’s tough,” Lukas said. “You can’t have one these soft horses, lightweight horses, horses that need some management going into the Derby. When you come out of the Derby, you’ve got to have a blue-collared, tough horse. If you don’t have a tough horse, the two weeks are going to jump up and bite you.”
Eight horses are now considered likely for the Preakness – Bravazo, Diamond King, Good Magic, Justify, Lone Sailor, Quip, Sporting Chance and Tenfold. Only Good Magic will be priced below 10-1 to join the heavy favorite Justify. Baffert is likely to join elite company and head to Belmont with another Triple Crown chance.