The pursuit of The Triple Crown continues- barely. JUSTIFY won the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown yesterday in The Preakness Stakes. He held off a furious late charge by 2nd place finisher BRAVAZO and TEN FOLD, who got up to beat GOOD MAGIC for third in the foggy, sloppy going at Pimlico Race Track. JUSTIFY paid $2.80 to Win. BRAVAZO $7.60 to Place, and TEN FOLD $6.80 to Show. A two dollar exacta earned $27.40. A dollar trifecta brought back $148.30, and a .10 cent superfecta was worth $37.25. Those pay-outs are not bad considering such a small field and the 1-2 favorite winning the race.
As the gate opened to start the race both JUSTIFY and GOOD MAGIC broke quickly and without incident as they made their way to the rail. Those two horses were neck and neck as they entered into the foggy abyss that was the first turn. They pulled away from the rest of the field of eight on the backstretch, but at that point the visibility was so poor it was hard to tell which of the two had the lead. The anticipation of the fans was palpable as to who would be ahead when they turned for home. It was JUSTIFY who emerged from the swirling mist in the lead as he was starting to get the best of GOOD MAGIC, and the crowd roared with approval. But, as the finish line loomed ahead, long-shots TEN FOLD and BRAVAZO were charging hard and closing the gap with every stride on the KD winner. Fortunately JUSTIFY jockey Mike Smith saw them coming and his horse responded to the quick left-hand whip and went on to win by a neck.
“When I saw GOOD MAGIC pressing the lead, I knew we were in for a horse race, and he was going to push me early.” Said jockey Mike Smith. He went on to say; “They know they can’t let JUSTIFY get on an easy, uncontested lead. This was a race he’s going to get fit off of. It was by far his hardest race.” ‘Big Money Mike’ knows that The Belmont Stakes on June 9th will be the hardest of all. At a mile & a half it is the longest of the three Triple Crown races, and Saturday’s performance, (especially the finish) will not scare off a lot of contenders.
Will horse racing have its 2nd Triple Crown winner in a three year span? It’s hard to say, but DRB will keep you posted on all the action and intrigue during the three week run up to The Belmont Stakes. Stay tuned.