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.”
Belmont Stakes: What Time, Where To Watch and More
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.
Tapwrit won the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Race favorite Irish War Cry broke away early and led for the majority of the race, but Tapwrit, who came in with 5-1 odds, used a late push to slide into first and grab the win.
The victory gives trainer Todd Pletcher two-thirds of the 2017 Triple Crown with Always Dreaming’s Kentucky Derby victory. It also marks the third time Pletcher has won the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Following the win, Pletcher explained that the race played out exactly the way his team had hoped it would.
“Tapwrit was getting a beautiful trip,” Pletcher said. “It was everything that we had talked about in the paddock before the race. It was just hoping that he had enough when it came crunch time.”
Pletcher is also the trainer of Patch, the one-eyed horse who came away with a third-place finish.
Meanwhile, jockey Jose Ortiz celebrated his first Triple Crown victory, calling the win “unbelievable.”
Both Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing pulled out of the Belmont Stakes, opening up the field and paving the way for three different Triple Crown race winners in 2017.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thunder Snow, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas, is among six 3-year-olds made eligible to compete in the Triple Crown series during the late nomination period.
The late nominees, which required a payment of $6,000 each, raise the total nominations to 425 for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The late nomination period closed Monday. The early nomination window closed in January and required a payment of $600.
Ireland-bred Thunder Snow, owned by Godolphin Racing, is set to run Saturday in the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai. The colt has three wins in seven career starts for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
The other late nominees are Hollywood Handsome, trained by Dallas Stewart; More Than Words, trained by Charlie LoPresti; Parlor, trained by Eddie Kenneally; Rapid Dial, trained by Ingrid Mason; and Stretch’s Stone, trained by Bruce Levine.
Thoroughbreds that weren’t nominated to the Triple Crown have one final chance by paying a supplemental fee. The fee for the Derby is $200,000; $150,000 for the Preakness; and $75,000 for the Belmont.