Preakness Stakes 143 Recap
Facts, Figure and Quotes from the 143d Preakness Stakes
MORE TO COME
Justify Guts Out Win in Foggy Preakness
By Dick Downey
Posted May 19, 2018
Photo by Jim McCue
Justify and Good Magic rocketed from the gate in the 143d Preakness, and after dueling from start to finish, it was Justify who ultimately proved best.
What began as a match race between those two eventually took a toll on Good Magic sufficient for Bravazo and Tenfold to wear him down in deep stretch for the place and show money. Good Magic finished fourth, beaten only a length.
With the starting gate and entire track enshrouded in fog, Mike Smith and Justify broke from post 7 and rolled down the sloppy-sealed stretch the first time to the outside of Good Magic and Jose Ortiz, who had exited post 5. With just a head separating them, Justify and Good Magic posted fractions of 23.11 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 47.19 for the half and 1:11.42 for six furlongs.
As the pair approached the top of the stretch, Justify could be seen with Smith's white WinStar silks begin to get the better of Good Magic, and he led by a half-length with an eighth of a mile left. At that point, Tenfold had advanced from sixth in the early going to be third, 3 1/2 lengths off the lead, and Bravazo was fifth, five lengths in arrears.
With Good Magic tiring, Tenfold got by him late, then Bravazo, and at the wire Justify had won by a half-length. It was a neck from Bravazo back to Tenfold in third and another neck to Good Magic.
Lone Sailor finished fifth, beaten only two lengths, after being last after the first half-mile. Another 8 3/4 lengths behind him was Sporting Chance, followed closely by Diamond King. Quip was distanced, beaten 45 1/2 lengths when he faded badly after the first six furlongs.
The final time was 1:55.93, best since California Chrome won the race in 2014.
Baffert said after the race that Justify would be returned to Churchill Downs and that if all is well, he'll pursue the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
It was the seventh win of a Preakness Stakes for Baffert, tying him with Robert Wyndham Walden, who won seven of 13 runnings of the Preakness beginning in 1875 and had a record five straight wins from 1878 through 1882. All five of Baffert's Kentucky Derby winners have won the Preakness.
Baffert has now won 14 Triple Crown races, putting him in a tie in that category with Bravazo's trainer, D. Wayne Lukas. They jointly hold the all-time record now. Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons won 13 Triple Crown races.
It was the 14th time Lukas has had two or more starters in a Preakness. In addition to Bravazo, Lukas trains Sporting Chance. Lukas has started a record 43 horses in 28 runnings of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. In addition to six wins, he also has one second and five third-place finishes.
Baffert made his Preakness debut in 1996 with Cavonnier, who was fourth at Pimlico after losing the Derby by a nose to Grindstone. He's saddled a total of 19 horses in 17 editions of the Preakness and in addition to his seven wins, he has one second and one third. His Preakness earnings now exceed $5 million, a record.
Flash Quote: "It was a nail-biter. They put it to us. That was a good horse, and it was like they had their own private match race," said Bob Baffert. "Somebody had to give, and I'm glad it wasn't us. I'm so happy he got it done. He's just a great horse, to handle all that pressure and keep on running. He had to really work for it and I'm happy for the horses and Mike and all the connections that we pulled it out. They ran fast; I've never had one run that fast here. Good Magic, I tip my hand to him. He made us really work. He's a really good horse."
Finish Position, Name, Finish Margin
2. Bravazo, beaten 1/2 length
3. Tenfold, beaten 3/4 length
4. Good Magic, beaten 1 length
5. Lone Sailor, beaten 2 lengths
6. Sporting Chance, beaten 10 3/4 lengths
7. Diamond King, beaten 12 1/4 lengths
8. Quip, beaten 46 lengths
Justify paid $2.80 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.60 to show
Bravavo paid $$7.60 to place and $4.80 to show
Tenfold paid $6.80 to show
The $2 exacta returned $27.40. The $1 trifecta paid $148.30, and the $1 super paid $372.50.
Pace Fractions, all set by Justify: 23.11, 47.19, 1:11.42, 1:36.10, 1:55.93
Justify ran the first quarter-mile in 23.11, the second quarter-mile in 24.08, the third quarter-mile in 24.23, the fourth quarter-mile in 24.68, and the final three-sixteenths mile in 19.83.
Performance Relative to Odds
Best Relative Performance by a Low-Odds Horse: Justify won at 2-5 odds.
Worst Relative Performance by a Low-Odds Horse: None
Best Performance by a High-Odds Horse: Bravazo finished second at 15-1, and Tenfold was third at 26-1.
Worst Performance by a High-Odds Horse: Quip was eighth and last at 12-1.
Attendance and Handle
After a very rainy week and on a Saturday when rain fell throughout the morning, Pimlico announced that 134,487 were in attendance, down 4.2 percent from an announced record crowd of 140,327 last year. Attendance was announced in excess of 135,000 in 2016.
Total handle on Pimlico’s 14-race program was $93,655,128, down from a record $97,168,658 in 2017. It was $94,127,434 in 2016.
Average field size this year was 6.6, compared to 8.9 in 2017. There were multiple scratches when four races were taken off the turf.
POST-RACE TRAINER QUOTES
Bob Baffert: “It was a nail-biter. They put it to us. That was a good horse [Good Magic] and it was like they had their own private match race. Somebody had to give, and I’m glad it wasn’t us. I’m so happy that we got it done. He’s just a great horse, to handle all that pressure and keep on running. He had to really work for it and I’m happy for the horse and Mike and all the connections that we pulled it out. They ran fast; I’ve never had one run that fast here. It took a lot out of me but I’m just glad … everybody came to see a good horse race. It was a great horse race. Good Magic, I tip my hand to him. He made us really work. He’s a really good horse.”
D. Wayne Lukas (Trainer, Bravazo, 2nd): “What I saw of it, I liked a lot. I want them to extend it another 50 yards. He was running on in the end. Luis did a good job. A very good horse won the race, a very good horse. We ran at him. We kept him honest just like we said we would. Bob’s tough in these and if he gets the right horse, he’s really tough. But, kudos to him, and we’ll see what happens in the next one. We’ve got three weeks. I’m pretty confident he’ll be OK. I thought all day long we were going to be very competitive.”
Steve Asmussen (Trainer, Tenfold, 3rd): “Honestly, you saw them go by the first time, and I was concerned with where he was. He was a little farther back than I thought he would be. He was pretty wide around the first turn. You see them down the backside, and you know he got in a great position into the second. When they came out of the fog, he was in the game. I’d say he got beat three-quarters of a length for all of it. He’s a top-class horse who is getting better. We were three-quarters of a length away from where we want to be, let’s figure out how to get it.” (The Belmont next?) “Absolutely. Heck yes.”
Chad Brown (Trainer, Good Magic, 4th): “No, I didn't want the horse on the lead. I'm disappointed with the trip. The post didn't help. We were inside him the whole way. Unfortunately, our horse took the worst of it being on the fence and getting pressed the whole way. He's just not a horse that runs on the lead, so I'm pretty disappointed. He didn't give up. I know this horse very well, and he's not a horse to be on the lead. No way.
“You guys asked me all week what I wanted to do – sit off the pace and follow him around the track. And he's following us around. Obviously, I entered my horse in the race because I thought there was a chance that he could be beaten and we could win the race. But it just wasn't a good fit. I would have liked to see a different scenario where maybe we were just off the pace a little bit and not being pressed on the fence the whole way. I'm disappointed. The post really hurt. When the horse broke so well as he did and you're inside the other horse it doesn't leave the rider with too many choices.”
Tom Amoss (Trainer, Lone Sailor, 5th): “He got beat 2 1/2 lengths, but I don’t know anything else. I know we went by the grandstand last but fairly close, closer than last time. I know I broke better. But after that, I can’t tell you much. Look, Justify was favored. We were 2 1/2 lengths from Justify today, which is a moral victory. Unfortunately we weren’t better than fifth. But I don’t know the details of the race.”
D. Wayne Lukas (Trainer, Sporting Chance, 6th): “He got really in trouble, He got wiped out in the first turn, big time. He almost goes down. It was really bad.
John Servis (Trainer, Diamond King, 7th): “I didn't get to see much. Javier said he broke a step slow and he had to use him a little bit to get position. Once he was in position he was comfortable. On the turn, they started to quicken, he asked him, and he started to quicken, but he just couldn't keep up. No real excuse."
Rodolphe Brisset (Trainer, Quip, 8th): “It looked like we had a good trip but he just stopped. We were in good position. It looks like he came back OK."
POST-RACE JOCKEY QUOTES
Mike Smith: “It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream come true, to be honest with you. It’s been 25 years since I was blessed to win my first one, which was here, and to go into it with Bob and [wife] Jill and the whole crew, WinStar and China Horse Club and everyone who’s involved, Jack Wolf, I’m just so blessed to be riding for these people right now. I’m on cloud nine.”
“He got a little tired. This is the hardest race that he’s had, but he was also waiting on competition. It was awful loud out there and the track’s pretty narrow and he was kind of looking and jumping tracks and doing a few things, but it was a good kind of tired. It was that kind of tired I’m hoping, anyway, and I feel like he’ll move forward.”
Luis Saez (Jockey, Bravazo, 2nd): “He broke very nice. When we came to the three-eighths pole Justify and Good Magic took off on us. Because me horse doesn’t have a quick turn of foot, it took me time to get him going. He was coming and coming down the stretch, and I thought we were going to catch Justify.”
Ricardo Santana Jr. (Jockey, Tenfold, 3rd): “I was happy in the position I was in. He ran a good race, but he’s still just a baby. I am happy with the third place and how he finished. He’s going to be tough later this year. I was happy with the way he ran.”
Jose Ortiz (Jockey, Good Magic, 4th): “Mike broke very well as we expected and he stayed in the middle of the track which I knew he was going to do. I tried to take back a little but the pace wasn’t too fast. He was relaxed but Mike was just sitting chilly on his horse. We were going very easy. I made my run the same time he did, but I didn’t have horse underneath me.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. (Jockey, Lone Sailor, 5th): “He had a real good race. No complaints. He got beat maybe a length and a half, two lengths. He's a good horse."
Luis Contreras (Jockey, Sporting Chance, 6th): “He never really performed like we wanted. The first time I tried to put him in the race he just didn't want to go forward.”
Javier Castellano (Jockey, Diamond King, 7th): “Out of the gate, I missed the first step and that cost me a little bit. He was off the pace, and we dropped three, four lengths behind. I had a good trip after that. He didn't really take to the track, and it was tough to try to put him in the game."
Florent Geroux (Jockey, Quip, 8th): “The horse seemed to come back fine. At the half-mile pole, he just stopped.”