STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Kentucky Derby winner Justify hot favorite for the Preakness Stakes

The hype is justifiable.The Bob Baffert-trained Justify won the Kentucky Derby and will start as hot favorite ...

Posted: May 18, 2018 11:09 AM
Updated: May 18, 2018 11:09 AM

The hype is justifiable.

The Bob Baffert-trained Justify won the Kentucky Derby and will start as hot favorite for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the US horse racing's Triple Crown, in Baltimore Saturday.

Bob Baffert-trained Justify favorite for Preakness Stakes

Kentucky Derby winner bidding for second leg of Triple Crown

Last Triple Crown winner was American Pharoah in 2015

Victory over the dirt of the Pimlico racecourse would set up Mike Smith's mount for the longer mile-and-a-half of the Belmont Stakes in New York in three weeks' time.

The last Triple Crown winner was American Pharoah in 2015 -- also saddled by Hall of Fame trainer Baffert.

"There's a saying I heard when I was very young: 'Do the usual unusually well.' Everything this horse does is not ordinary, it's extraordinary," Smith said in a video on the race's social media channels.

READ: Favorite Justify wins Kentucky Derby on wettest race day

READ: Why the English Classics are breed apart

'Really, really special'

The 65-year-old Baffert has won the Preakness Stakes six times, including with all four of his previous Kentucky Derby winners -- Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002) and American Pharoah (2015).

However, only American Pharoah was able to go on and secure the fabled Triple Crown, the first horse to do so since Affirmed in 1978. Even the great California Chrome couldn't quite land the third leg after winning the Derby and Preakness in 2014.

Justify, out of illustrious stallion Scat Daddy, was the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby having not run as a two-year-old, breaking the so-called "Curse of Apollo" -- a reference to the last horse to achieve the feat in 1882.

However, the chestnut colt has won all four of his races as a three-year-old and Baffert says he knew immediately he was exceptional.

"The first time we worked this horse I said, 'I think we have something really special,' and after his maiden win [in February] I thought, man, he's really, really special," Baffert told reporters at Churchill Downs.

Justify beat Good Magic by two-and-half lengths to clinch the $1.432 million first prize in Louisville and will face trainer Chad Brown's chance again in the eight-runner field Saturday.

READ: The legend of America's greatest war horse

READ: Racing's 'Everest' aims to win back 'Snapchat generation'

'You can't mail it in'

Victory in the Preakness, which was first staged in 1873, two years before the iconic Kentucky Derby, would tie Baffert on 14 wins in Triple Crown races alongside famed handler and close friend D. Wayne Lukas, who turned him down for a job as an 18-year-old.

Baffert can also move past Lukas' six Preakness wins and tie 19th century trainer R. Wyndham Walden on a record seven victories in the event, known as the "Race for the Black-Eyed Susans" after the blanket of yellow flowers that is draped over the winner.

"I was really impressed with Justify in the Derby, Bob did a tremendous job," the 82-year-old Lukas told reporters at Pimlico this week.

"Yet you can't mail it in. We'll keep it honest and we're not going to walk over and engrave the trophy yet. You've got to at least make it difficult for him, even though he's probably going to get it."

Lukas has two entries in Bravazo, who was sixth in the Kentucky Derby, and Sporting Chance.

Of Bravazo, who will line up in lane eight outside Justify, he said: "I really think he'll move forward. You've got have a tough horse here and he's tough."

Another fancied contender is Quip, trained by Rodolphe Brisset, who missed the Derby but has won three of his five starts including the Tampa Bay Derby in March. Derby third Audible will be absent, further justifying the claims of the favorite.

Visit CNN.com/horseracing for more news, features and videos

The race carries a purse of $1.5 million, with the historic $4 million Woodlawn Vase, created by Tiffany and Co. in 1860, awarded to the winner.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 581335

Reported Deaths: 7267
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1206301710
Ramsey50221865
Dakota44921441
Anoka40688432
Washington26275278
Stearns21864220
St. Louis17475302
Scott16941123
Wright15685135
Olmsted1308297
Sherburne1136784
Carver1029545
Clay806892
Rice7920104
Blue Earth736041
Crow Wing650687
Kandiyohi646681
Chisago579751
Otter Tail565877
Benton558897
Goodhue469972
Mower459432
Douglas458774
Winona447350
McLeod416558
Itasca416253
Morrison412660
Isanti407062
Nobles406348
Beltrami386258
Steele379115
Polk378567
Becker374049
Lyon356850
Carlton340152
Freeborn338929
Pine323321
Nicollet320243
Brown302740
Mille Lacs297252
Le Sueur284722
Todd277131
Cass264828
Meeker249638
Waseca234821
Martin227131
Roseau204519
Wabasha20293
Hubbard182941
Dodge18073
Renville177543
Redwood170636
Houston166915
Cottonwood161921
Fillmore153710
Pennington153219
Wadena152121
Chippewa151238
Faribault149419
Kanabec141824
Sibley140610
Aitkin132836
Watonwan12979
Rock126819
Jackson120911
Pipestone113626
Yellow Medicine113420
Pope10766
Murray10529
Swift103818
Stevens88011
Marshall87417
Clearwater85416
Koochiching80914
Lake80519
Wilkin79612
Lac qui Parle74822
Big Stone5924
Lincoln5723
Grant5638
Mahnomen5408
Norman5369
Unassigned51793
Kittson48222
Red Lake3947
Traverse3675
Lake of the Woods3173
Cook1550

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 364143

Reported Deaths: 5900
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57127619
Linn20675333
Scott19714239
Black Hawk15734307
Woodbury15078228
Johnson1438283
Dubuque13308207
Dallas1108797
Pottawattamie11021166
Story1052948
Warren571488
Clinton550792
Cerro Gordo534689
Sioux511674
Webster510892
Marshall480775
Muscatine472999
Des Moines450366
Wapello4278122
Buena Vista423940
Jasper412770
Plymouth399979
Lee371955
Marion360075
Jones296457
Henry290237
Carroll284352
Bremer282360
Crawford264140
Boone262334
Benton254955
Washington252250
Dickinson247343
Mahaska228850
Jackson220642
Clay214625
Kossuth214564
Tama208871
Delaware208040
Winneshiek196333
Page191921
Buchanan190331
Cedar188623
Hardin184443
Fayette184341
Wright183136
Harrison179073
Hamilton178949
Clayton168456
Butler163734
Mills161321
Madison159719
Floyd159442
Cherokee158338
Lyon157541
Poweshiek154533
Allamakee150251
Iowa147924
Hancock146534
Winnebago140631
Cass137654
Grundy136032
Calhoun135313
Emmet133040
Jefferson132135
Shelby130337
Sac129819
Appanoose127847
Louisa127849
Union127332
Mitchell125642
Chickasaw123515
Guthrie120629
Humboldt118726
Franklin116221
Palo Alto112123
Howard104122
Montgomery102437
Unassigned9990
Clarke99324
Keokuk95431
Monroe95028
Ida90234
Adair86032
Pocahontas85422
Monona82830
Davis81324
Osceola77716
Greene77310
Lucas76823
Worth7338
Taylor65612
Fremont6209
Decatur6059
Van Buren55618
Ringgold54424
Wayne53123
Audubon5009
Adams3374
Rochester
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 43°
Mason City
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 39°
Austin
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 40°
Charles City
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: °
More sunshine Thursday.
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events