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Justify X 2 in the Mud


Compiled by Nancy Brannon

Track conditions for the Preakness were much like those at the Kentucky Derby: muddy and sloppy. Saturday, May 19th was the eighth consecutive day of measurable rain around the Baltimore area with totals topping 5 inches. Thick fog obscured the view of much of the track, making race commentary difficult for sports casters. But out of the fog, raced Derby winner Justify to win the 143rd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.

Justify broke well from the gate and edged to the front to take an early lead. But so did Good Magic who had challenged him at the Derby. The two ran neck and neck in a close “match race” for about ¾ of the course. Then Bravazo and Tenfold made their moves to the front, challenging Justify every stride of the way. But Justify found that extra “turbo boost” to send him under the wire as the clear winner, defeating Bravazo by half a length.  It was a tight group at the finish, with Tenfold (3rd) to the right of Justify just a neck behind; Bravazo (2nd) to Tenfold’s right, just half a length off; and Good Magic on the rail, a neck behind Tenfold, putting him in fourth.

“It was a nail-biter,” Justify's trainer Bob Baffert told NBC Sports. “They put it to us. It was like they had their own private match race, (but I'm) so happy we got it done. Such a great horse to handle all that pressure and get it done!”

Justify is now the 24th horse to win both the Derby and the Preakness. Despite the rain and mud, a crowd of 134,487 turned out to watch the Derby winner take the second jewel in the Triple Crown. Elmont, NY and the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes are next on his agenda, June 9, 2018.

Justify, a 2015 chestnut colt, has top ancestry on his sire’s side, Scat Daddy. His great grandsire is Mr. Prospector, who was by Raise A Native, who was by Native Dancer. Nijinsky was great-great grandsire, with Northern Dancer ancestry. Nijinsky, Seattle Slew, and Mr. Prospector are also fifth generation ancestors of his dam, Stage Magic.

Good Magic, also a 2015 chestnut colt and son of Curlin, broke his maiden by winning the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and was named American Champion two-year-old male horse. In 2018, he won the Blue Grass Stakes and was second to Justify in the Kentucky Derby.

Photo credit: Tom Horan/Associated Press

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