Justify battled through sloppy conditions to win the 143rd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in a thrilling finish to keep the Triple Crown dream alive.
Justify, trained by Bob Baffert and jockeyed by Mike Smith, remains undefeated in his racing career. Bravazo came in second followed by Tenfold.
The Triple Crown contender found himself in a battle nearly the entire race with Good Magic before the No. 5 horse faded in the end.
It’s Baffert’s seventh Preakness win and Smith’s second.
“It was a nail-biter,” Baffert said after the win. “You know, they put it to us. That was a good horse. … I’m so happy that we got it done. He’s just such a great horse to handle all that pressure.”
Smith, whose last Preakness win was 25 years ago, believes Justify’s tight finish with Bravazo and Tenfold was due to fatigue and waiting on competition.
“He got a little tired,” Smith said. “This is his hardest race he’s had. But he was also waiting on competition. It’s awful loud out there. Track’s pretty narrow. He was kind of looking and jumping at tracks and doing a few things. But it was a good kind of tired. It’s the kind of tired that I’m hoping anyway, and it felt like he’ll move forward.”
American Pharoah was the last horse to win the Triple Crown in 2015. Only 12 horses in total have achieved that goal in the history of horse racing.
The 150th Belmont Stakes will take place on June 9th on NBC and the NBC Sports app.
Cloud Computing won last year’s Preakness Stakes after not racing in the 2017 Kentucky Derby.