Eddie Olczyk’s 2018 Preakness picks

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NBC Sports’ Eddie Olczyk’s picks for the 143rd running of the Preakness are hot off the press.

Edzo accurately predicted the trifecta at this year’s Kentucky Derby by going with Justify, Good Magic and Audible.

Preakness Stakes: What Time, Where to Watch and More

Olczyk believes Justify will continue his magical run towards the Triple Crown with a victory at Pimlico, while Good Magic will fall just short once again.

Race 8                   Still Having Fun-Curly’s Rocket-Mitole

Race 9                   Ultra Brat-Elysea’s World-Blessed Silence

Race 10                 Fellowship-Switzerland-Long Haul Bay

Race 11                 Keep Your Distance-Pretty Perfection-Smiling Causeway

Race 12                 Ax Man-Title Ready

Race 13                 Justify-Good Magic-Quip

 

Preakness Stakes Schedule

What: 143rd Preakness Stakes

When: May 19th, 2018

Post Time: 6:48 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: NBC, NBC Sports App

Click for the full Preakness Stakes race weekend schedule.

Baffert sweeps Grade 1 two-year-old races at Los Alamitos

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert swept the CashCall Futurity and Starlet for 2-year-olds, winning the Grade 1 races for the second straight year at Los Alamitos.

Improbable won the $300,345 Futurity by five lengths as the 1-5 favorite and 3-2 favorite Chasing Yesterday won the $300,345 Starlet by a head on Saturday. Drayden Van Dyke became the second jockey to win both races in the same year.

Baffert earned his fifth straight victory in the Futurity and his 11th overall, having won it six times at old Hollywood Park.

Improbable ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.18 and paid $2.40 to win. The colt’s ownership includes most of the group that owned Triple Crown winner Justify.

In the Starlet, Chasing Yesterday ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.59 and paid $5 to win. She is a half-sister to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, also trained by Baffert.

Victor Espinoza aims for January comeback

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DEL MAR, Calif. — Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza is aiming to return to riding in January, six months after he was seriously injured in a training accident.

The 46-year-old rider says he had an MRI recently and “it came out perfect.” Espinoza says he doesn’t need surgery and his spinal cord has healed “perfectly,” which was his main concern.

He fractured a vertebra in his neck at Del Mar last July when the horse he was exercising fell.

Espinoza was back at Del Mar on Saturday for the first time since the accident. He presented the trophy to the winning connections in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. He has been recuperating at his Del Mar home.

Espinoza says he hopes to return sometime in January at Santa Anita. The track opens its winter meet on Dec. 26.

He rode American Pharoah to a Triple Crown sweep in 2015.