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.”
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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.
Justify became the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown after winning the 150th Belmont Stakes.
Justify, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, joined fellow Baffert trainee American Pharoah as the only horses to accomplish the honor since Affirmed in 1977.
After struggling at times in a win at the Preakness Stakes, Justify led the Belmont from wire to wire and never appeared tired. Justify became only the second undefeated Triple Crown winner.
WATCH: Justify’s Triple Crown win at Belmont Stakes
Baffert’s horses have won 2,848 races during the trainer’s career. Baffert has won five Kentucky Derbies, seven Preaknesses and two Belmonts. His estimated career earnings come in at over $276 million.
Here’s the complete list of Triple Crown winners:
2018 – Justify
2015 – American Pharoah
1978 – Affirmed
1977 – Seattle Slew
1973 – Secretariat
1948 – Citation
1946 – Assault
1943 – Count Fleet
1941 – Whirlaway
1937 – War Admiral
1935 – Omaha
1930 – Gallant Fox
1919 – Sir Barton
Pharoah joined an exclusive club in 2015 as he galloped to the first Triple Crown in 37 years.
The six-year-old American Pharoah won nine of his 11 career races and has retired from competition.
As of 2016, American Pharoah’s stud fee was reportedly listed at $200,000.
Post Malone has joined the party at Pimlico.
The 22-year-old rapper from Syracuse, New York got the party going in Infieldfest before the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes.
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His new album “Beerbongs & Bentleys” has become a huge hit with singles such as “rockstar” and “Better Now” taking over the top of music charts.
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.