John Minchillo/Associated Press
Kentucky Derby winner Justify will break from the No. 7 gate in the 2018 Preakness Stakes following Wednesday’s post-position draw at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
Justify is set to face a group of contenders that features three Derby rivals, including second-place finisher Good Magic, and four new shooters. He’s looking to become the first horse since American Pharoah in 2015 to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Let’s check out the full list of starting positions for Saturday’s Run for the Black-Eyed Susans and a closer look at the top Preakness hopefuls.
2018 Preakness Stakes Field
Post — Horse (Jockey; Trainer; Vegas Odds)
1 — Quip (Florent Geroux; Rodolphe Brisset; 16-1)
2 — Lone Sailor (Irad Ortiz; Thomas Amoss; 25-1)
3 — Sporting Chance (Luis Contreras; D. Wayne Lukas; 22-1)
4 — Diamond King (Javier Castellano; John Servis; 16-1)
5 — Good Magic (Jose Ortiz; Chad Brown; 3-1)
6 — Tenfold (Ricardo Santana Jr.; Steve Asmussen; 25-1)
7 — Justify (Mike Smith; Bob Baffert; 2-5)
8 — Bravazo (Luis Saez; D. Wayne Lukas; 18-1)
Betting lines courtesy of OddsShark.
Horses To Watch
A sloppy Churchill Downs track did little to slow Justify two weeks ago. The Kentucky-bred colt enjoyed an ideal trip as he sat just off the early pace before finding another gear around the far turn to take the lead for good ahead of Good Magic and Audible.
The victory allowed him to remain undefeated through four career starts. He also won the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in early April to punch his Triple Crown ticket.
Now the question is whether Justify can become the fourth horse in the past seven years to win the first two legs, joining American Pharoah, California Chrome and I’ll Have Another.
Trainer Bob Baffert is confident based on the way the colt has responded.
“He looks no different than he did before the Kentucky Derby, so we’re pretty happy where we are right now,” he told reporters Monday. “He looks healthy. He didn’t lose an ounce of weight, which is important. That’s one thing about him. The next day when I brought him out, he was so bright and full of energy, I was pretty impressed myself.”
It would be intriguing to see how Justify responds if his Preakness trip includes more obstacles than the Derby, especially if he’s forced to come from deep in the field. But Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will likely ensure that doesn’t happen, one of the many reasons Justify is the clear favorite.
Biggest Threat: Good Magic
Good Magic ran an inspired race in the Kentucky Derby, settling in behind Justify and staying pretty much stride-for-stride with the eventual champion until late in the race. He just couldn’t find the space or kick he needed to win the Run for the Roses.
The Chad Brown trainee is no stranger to marquee races thanks to an aggressive schedule. He took on his first Grade I race last October, finishing second in the Champagne Stakes, and emerged made his first major statement with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November.
He’s finished in the top three in all six of his career starts and there’s no reason to believe that streak will end Saturday. Whether he can overcome Justify is a different debate.
Brown is optimistic the quick turnaround will benefit Good Magic, per Jeremy Balan of America’s Best Racing.
“Both horses are going to do things they’ve never done before—run on two weeks’ rest and run at Pimlico,” he said. “We’re hopeful our horse responds to that well. If you’re asking how we’re going to close the gap of a couple lengths, that’s it.”
Those comments could prove prophetic if Good Magic can gain an early edge on Justify instead of running from behind the entire race like he did in the Derby.
Long Shot: Tenfold
Tenfold didn’t debut until mid-February. He made the jump to face Grade I competition in April’s Arkansas Derby after winning his first two starts and didn’t respond well, finishing fifth.
The fascination about his Preakness chances are based on untapped potential. He’s the son of Curlin, the 2007 Preakness Stakes winner, and has continued to make positive strides in training.
Alicia Wincze Hughes of BloodHorse provided comments from trainer Steve Asmussen about his long-term belief in the colt and whether the development process has accelerated enough to succeed this week.
“Maybe just emotionally [I] really like the horse because of [the Curlin] connection and his personality, but I think he has a ton of talent,” he said. “And he’s going to have very good races in his future. I’m just hoping Saturday is what we’re talking about and not a year from now.”
Picking Tenfold to win the Preakness would be a leap of faith. He’s yet to prove his talent and pedigree are actually going to produce high-end results. But the upside is there for him to steal the spotlight from Justify, Good Magic and the rest of the field at Pimlico.