Baffert On Justify: 'He's A Superior Horse, Just Like American Pharoah'

Baffert On Justify: 'He's A Superior Horse, Just Like American Pharoah'

Justify, who has run just four races total since his debut in February at Santa Anita in California, became the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby despite not competing as a 2 year old, breaking a so-called 136-year-old curse.

Looking at the Thoro-Graph numbers, Bravazo made a tremendous leap from the Louisiana Derby to the Kentucky Derby, and even several points from his Risen Star victory.

Majority have been raised with trainer Bob Baffert, who in 2015 helped American Pharoah become the first Triple Crown victor since Affirmed in 1978. Good Magic does his best running from a few lengths off the pace, a strategy he employed when finishing second in the Kentucky Derby and while winning the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November.

Justify will face three other challengers he beat two weeks ago at Churchill Downs - Good Magic, Lone Sailor and Bravazo - and four horses who skipped the Derby - Quip, Tenfold, Sporting Chance and Diamond King.

If all eight start, the field will equal the smallest in the Preakness since 2000.

A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling comes into the 2018 Preakness on a mind-blowing streak: He has called eight of the last 13 winners in this Triple Crown race. He's won all four of his career starts, all over the past 17 weeks. In 2016, Kentucky Derby victor Nyquist likewise went out through a fast pace that exhausted not only the other speed horses but himself as well; the deep closers Exaggerator and Cherry Wine (the latter a significant longshot) finished first and second. He's has since been shod with regular horse shoe, and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said the foot is not an issue.

Second in horse-racing attendance to only The Kentucky Derby, the 2017 Preakness set an all-time record with 140,327 fans in attendance at Pimlico with wagers coming in at upwards of $96 million, according to Preakness.com.

Finally, the two-week turnaround is a new experience for the son of Scat Daddy, whose previous races were nicely spaced about a month apart.

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Will Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz use a different strategy this time to try to turn the tables on Justify? Baffert said he kept the workout light because of the conditions.

"We took him out there and we backed him up to near the half-mile pole and just went easy around there", Baffert said. He was just getting warmed up and wanted to do more, but we wouldn't let him. "I really, really need a raincoat", Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows sang in the band's moody 1993 ballad "Raining In Baltimore".

He was scheduled to work on the track again on Friday.

"Right now, I feel confident he's going to show up", Baffert said. A photo that made the rounds this week showed the colt's ribs rather prominently, which led to concerns Good Magic has lost weight after the slog through the mud at Churchill Downs. "We should be close early".

Preakness favorite Justify galloped over the track at Pimlico Race Course for the first time Thursday morning, appearing comfortable despite the mud from a relentless overnight rain.

And we're trying to keep this relatively simple anyway, so forget the horizontals.

"They are very good horsemen, they know the business and they think by the horse", Brisset said.

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