Justify, ridden by jockey Mike Smith, runs down the stretch on his way to winning the 144th Kentucky Derby on May 5. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, will be run Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Kentucky Derby winner Justify is the favorite, as expected, and drew the No. 7 post position Wednesday afternoon.
“Not only does he have the talent, but he has the will to win,” trainer Bob Baffert told reporters Tuesday. “For him, what he’s done in such a short period — it will be his fifth race in 13 weeks — it’s just incredible how tough he is.”
Justify, the son of Scat Daddy, a multiple Grade I winner and sire of 69 stakes winners, started racing as a 3-year-old and is 4 for 4 since his debut in February. The colt posted triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in each of his past two races, the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby, and appears to be peaking at the right time.
“I think this horse has a great chance; I wish I had him,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has two horses running Saturday, said of Justify. “There’s no horse out there right now that can stop him on this run. He’s going to get a mile and a half [in the Belmont]. He’s going to run well in the Preakness. It’s his Triple Crown to lose.”
Here’s a look at Justify’s chances, plus analysis on the seven horses who hope to beat him to the winner’s circle.
Post time: Saturday, 6:20 p.m. Eastern time, NBC
No. 1 Quip (12-1 morning-line odds)
Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Quip won the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and finished second in the Grade I Arkansas Derby, giving him enough points to get in the Kentucky Derby; however, his connections preferred to point him to the Preakness. Only four “new shooters” over the past 28 years have won the Preakness, but don’t forget about him in your exotics.
No. 2 Lone Sailor (15-1)
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Lone Sailor was second in the Grade II Louisiana Derby and eighth in the Kentucky Derby. His running style, preferring to sit way back off the pace, might be a negative here against early speedsters and stalkers.
No. 3 Sporting Chance (30-1)
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Luis Contreras
The Hopeful winner as a 2-year-old hasn’t taken the next step as a 3-year-old after winning two of three starts as a juvenile.
No. 4 Diamond King (30-1)
Trainer: John Servis
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Diamond King won the Federico Tesio Stakes for his fourth win in six career starts. He has missed the board only once: last fall in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs.
No. 5 Good Magic (3-1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner had a solid showing in the Kentucky Derby, finishing second, and this son of Curlin appears well suited for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.
No. 6 Tenfold (20-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Tenfold ran fifth in the Arkansas Derby in just his third career start. But you have to respect Asmussen, a Hall of Famer who has two Preakness wins: Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009).
No. 7 Justify (1-2)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith
The unbeaten colt broke the “Curse of Apollo” in the Kentucky Derby, in a rainstorm and on a sloppy track. Baffert is 4 for 4 in the Preakness with his Derby winners. Preakness favorites are 72 for 142 in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Tough to beat here.
No. 8 Bravazo (20-1)
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Luis Saez
His connections won the 2013 Preakness with Oxbow and, like him, Bravazo’s best races have come when he has stalked the early pace.