Justify prevails in 143rd Preakness Stakes
Justify wears the Black-Eyed Susan blanket after winning the 143rd edition of the Preakness Stakes (G1) (c) Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com
Justify held on by a half-length over a fast-closing Bravazo to take the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico on Saturday. The Bob Baffert trainee hit the crowded finish line to stop the clock in 1:55.93 for 1 3/16 miles over the sloppy, sealed track at Old Hilltop following a week of unending rain.
In a scene reminiscent of the 144th Kentucky Derby (G1) two weeks ago, Justify and Good Magic hooked up not long after the start. Justify kept his head in front about three wide while Good Magic maintained the pressure through splits of :23.11, :47.19 and 1:11.42.
Much of the race was obscured by a dense fog that had settled over the track. Fans kept their eyes fixed on midstretch, awaiting the field to exit the miasma, and Justify still held a short lead when finally breaking free from the gloom. Good Magic remained stubborn on his inside, and new threats from the rallying Bravazo and Tenfold loomed large.
Normally the stretch drive seems unending, but this time it was too fast, at least for Bravazo who ran out of room late and finished a half-length behind Justify in second on the wire. Tenfold wasn’t far back, just a neck adrift in third while Good Magic was another neck behind in fourth. Lone Sailor followed in fifth by a length while Sporting Chance and Diamond King came next. Quip was a distant 33 1/4 lengths behind Diamond King in last.
Justify was sent off the 2-5 favorite and returned $2.80 for the win, which bumped his scorecard to a perfect five-for-five. The chestnut son of Scat Daddy has now banked $2,998,000 lifetime thanks to wins in the Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita Derby (G1), an allowance/optional claimer and a maiden in addition to this contest.
Justify is campaigned by China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm and was bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther. He is out of the Grade 3-placed Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, making him a half-brother to stakes runner-up The Lieutenant who just finished third in the Californian Stakes (G2) last Saturday. His third dam is Grade 3 heroine Voodoo Lily, and this female line also boasts Grade 2 victress Spellbound and multiple Grade 3 conqueror Kid Cruz.