After an astonishing run in the rain, Justify will look to grab his second crow in the quest for horse racing’s holy grail this Saturday at the Preakness Stakes. Justify is currently undefeated in his first 4 starts and became the first 2 year old favorite to win the derby since Apollo in 1882. While it was a great race and Justify displayed pure dominance leading the entire race, if you were watching closely, Justify had uneven strides indicating an injury that was diagnosed after the race. Here is JTP’s guide to the Preakness Stakes, what are the good bets and will Justify capture his second race in just under 3 weeks.
Justify will start in the No. 7 position, the same beginning at the Kentucky Derby which could favor the young horse. This weekend’s forecast looks to be very similar to the Derby with consistent rain throughout the day and potentially during the race. In any big race, a horse’s start is crucial to running well. In the Derby, we saw Justify explode from the gate an rode just a quarter length to the right of the Promises Fulfilled before claiming the lead at around the 3/4 length mark. The Preakness is a completely different animal and will really test Justify’s stamina given the short amount of rest. The Derby had a 20 horse race while the Preakness will only feature 8, 3 of which raced against Justify in the Derby.
In terms of competition, Justify’s most likely upset will come from the No. 5 horse Good Magic who finished second at the Derby. Trainers and doctors who have been observing Justify have reported that Justify has regained his stride and he’s running well but the predicted wet track which aggravated his injury could give Good Magic a chance to take the first position.
Prediction: Despite Justify looking very strong in the Derby, the Triple Crown is extremely taxing on a horse’s body, especially a horse with a minor injury that isn’t so minor anymore given the short amount of rest. Good Magic looked strong in the Derby and is poised to upset a questionable Justify. I think the race track’s condition will play a vital role in whether Justify will win. Of course there are a lot of other variables like his start but if the weather is poor like it was in Kentucky, Justify will have a hard time finishing first.