Preakness 2018: Top Contenders and Unheralded Horses in Lineup Field
John Minchillo/Associated Press
Kentucky Derby winner Justify is the top horse in the field for the 2018 edition of Preakness at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 19.
Good Magic, a runner up at Churchill Downs, is also one of the horses to watch, despite finishing two-and-a-half lengths behind the winner in Louisville. Of the more unheralded horses set to be in action, Kentucky runners Lone Sailor and Bravazo are worth keeping an eye on at the 143rd edition of Preakness.
Justify Still the Leading Contender
It’s hard to look past Justify, though, especially after the way the powerful colt ended the ‘Apollo Curse’ earlier this month. Naturally, the horse is a firm favourite among oddsmakers, per OddsShark’s Mike Dempsey:
Odds to win the Preakness Stakes:
Good Magic +450
Diamond King +1600
My Boy Jack +1600
Runaway Ghost +1800
In an ominous sign for the other horses at Pimlico, trainer Bob Baffert believes winning at Churchill Downs has taken nothing out of Justify, per The Baltimore Sun:
“He looks healthy. He didn’t lose an ounce of weight, which is important. That’s one thing about him. The next day (after the Derby) when I brought him out, he was so bright and full of energy, I was pretty impressed myself. Usually, all my Derby winners, it takes them about five days to really snap out of it. But he was pretty sharp the whole time.”
A Justify at full speed and strength is bad news for Good Magic and the rest. No horse provided a serious threat to Baffert’s prized colt in Louisville, despite the field being deeper and more talented for the Run for the Roses.
Good Magic in with a Chance
Getting closest to Justify in Kentucky may give Good Magic confidence about going further this time. Where the horse could have the edge is thanks to trainer Chad Brown.
A year ago, Brown’s Cloud Computing won at Pimlico. He has been anxious for Good Magic to have a quick second chance at beating Justify, per Childs Walker of the The Baltimore Sun.
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
Walker also noted how Brown’s horse “legitimately pushed Justify over the mud at Churchill Downs.” On that occasion, the push brought out the best in Justify, leaving Good Magic ultimately unable to keep up.
Yet Brown’s recent experience with winners on this track could make all the difference.
Bravazo and Lone Sailor Worth a Second Look
Like Good Magic, Bravazo is trained by an expert at winning in Baltimore. D. Wayne Lukas has trained six winners for Preakness, per Matt Bonesteel of the Washington Post.
The influence of Lukas wasn’t enough for Bravazo to get closer than eight lengths behind the winner at Churchill Downs. Even so, a sixth-placed finish offered a hint of this colt’s quality.
Things are different for Lone Sailor, with the horse set to be ridden by a new jockey in Baltimore. Bonesteel reported Irad Ortiz Jr. will replace James Graham in the saddle.
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
Lone Sailor finished eighth in Louisville, but the longer track at Pimlico will likely better suit a horse with the energy to stay in the mix early, before producing a late surge to finish.
Justify is the horse to beat in the second leg of the Triple Crown, but Good Magic, Lone Sailor and Bravazo all remain capable of springing a surprise.
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May 15, 2018 at 10:05AM