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‘He’s the best horse’: Derby winner Justify is 1-2 favorite for Preakness

LZ7YGUSZMMI6RNSWUX4MFKJJLU - ‘He’s the best horse’: Derby winner Justify is 1-2 favorite for Preakness

Teacher Bob Baffert walks Kentucky Derby winner Justify in the course of the Preakness barn. (Geoff Burke/America Nowadays Sports activities)

Elliott Walden flashed Bob Baffert a thumbs-up Wednesday afternoon because the announcement got here that Justify would get started the Preakness from the No. 7 publish, simply as he had when he received the Kentucky Derby in commanding style.

“He likes it,” stated Walden, president and CEO of Justify’s co-owner, WinStar Farm. “However with an eight-horse box, I don’t suppose any publish is dangerous.”

What Walden didn’t say at that second, however what he and Baffert consider, is if Justify runs his race Saturday, not anything else will topic. Now not the publish place, now not the opposite horses within the box and now not the sopping-wet forecast.

Pimlico oddsmaker Keith Feustle agreed, list the Derby champion as a 1-2 favourite within the morning line for the Preakness.

“Ooh, guy, discuss force,” Baffert stated with a slight grin as he heard the chances.

The Corridor of Popularity instructor’s self belief is definitely earned. His earlier 4 Derby champions all received two weeks later in Baltimore. And Justify is coming off a commanding 2½ -length victory on a muddy monitor at Churchill Downs.

He dominated within the rain in Kentucky, and a gentle drizzle greeted him Wednesday as he stepped off his van from Baltimore-Washington World Marshall Airport at Three:48 p.m. Baffert walked to fulfill his 5th Derby winner, however Justify didn’t go out first.

“That is Sunny!” the teacher crowed as he led a golden pony to the Preakness barn forward of the pony everybody waited to glimpse.

However the huge chestnut, virtually 1,300 kilos of him, used to be to not be overshadowed as soon as he emerged. “Ooh, he’s giant,” a number of onlookers murmured.

As he did with 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Baffert selected to place Justify in the midst of the Preakness barn reasonably than in Stall 40, the normal house of the Derby winner.

“It kind of feels to be that the pony isn’t ready to calm down as it’s proper at the nook and you’ve got lookie-loos all day lengthy they usually’re snapping the clicking of the cameras,” he stated.

Justify will face a smaller-than-usual box of 7 challengers as he tries to win the second one leg of the Triple Crown. It’s the similar measurement box American Pharoah beat 3 years in the past, skinny partly as a result of Justify scared away a lot of his competitors.

However now not Derby runner-up Just right Magic, who will get started from the No. five publish and is indexed as a Three-1 2d selection. His instructor, Chad Brown, received the Preakness remaining 12 months with Cloud Computing.

“I’m high-quality with the draw,” stated Brown, who received’t arrive in Baltimore till Friday. “We will have to be shut early.”

Two different Derby horses will attempt to flip the tables on Justify — sixth-place finisher Bravazo and eighth-place finisher Lone Sailor.

Lone Sailor’s instructor, Tom Amoss, has stated Justify does now not seem prone however that his horse ran smartly sufficient to deserve every other likelihood. He’ll pass off from the No. 2 publish and sits as a 15-1 fourth selection.

Bravazo is one in every of two horses 82-year-old instructor D. Wayne Lukas will saddle for the Preakness. The 20-1 selection will get started from the No. eight publish. Lukas’s different horse, Carrying Likelihood, will get started from the No. Three publish and is indexed as a 30-1 lengthy shot.

A number of the recent horses difficult Justify is Arkansas Derby runner-up Quip, who just like the Derby champion is owned by means of WinStar Farm and the China Horse Membership. Quip will get started from the No. 1 publish, indexed as a 12-1 3rd selection.

Regardless that few running shoes need the some distance within publish place, Walden stated he used to be high-quality with it for WinStar’s different horse. “I’ve tended to do lovely smartly in math, and I understand it’s the shortest means round there,” he stated.

Diamond King, winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park, may even take a shot on the Derby champion, ranging from the No. four publish and indexed as a 30-1 lengthy shot.

In any case, Tenfold, saddled by means of Corridor of Popularity instructor Steve Asmussen, will get started from the No. 6 publish and is indexed as a 20-1 selection within the morning line.

Rival running shoes have said for the reason that Derby that if Justify is on his sport, he’s the favourite to ship Baffert every other Triple Crown.

“He’s the most productive horse. It’s that easy,” Lukas stated. “I believe the similar horses that have been up in entrance [in the Derby] will probably be there once more. I’m hoping to be just a little nearer with either one of mine, however we won’t be capable of do a lot about it. The article that makes Justify so difficult is that he has the power to dictate the race and make his personal good fortune. The place a few of us must have just a little assist, he has the power to do it when he desires to.”

The using rain on Derby day frayed Baffert’s nerves, however he normally downplayed the significance of the elements.

“He’s all the time been a awesome horse,” Baffert stated. “And the truly excellent ones, they simply appear to run on the rest.”

— Baltimore Solar

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