BALTIMORE — Justify is the 1-2 morning-line favorite in an eight-horse field at the Preakness coming off his impressive win in the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Bob Baffert’s undefeated colt will leave from the same No. 7 post that he did at the Derby. Baffert is 4-0 with Derby winners at the Preakness and has the opportunity to win his second Triple Crown in four years, after American Pharoah did it in 2015.
“I’m fine,” Baffert said. “I’ll never forget the sickening feeling when I drew the 1-2 [posts] with American Pharoah and Dortmund. I think the break is still very essential, so I’m fine with it.”
Baffert joked that being such a heavy favorite puts more pressure on Justify, who held off a hard-charging Good Magic in the Derby. But the trainer added that he would rather have the favorite in an important race than a 50-1 shot who needs a lot of help to win.
Justify doesn’t need that. After not racing as a 2-year-old, he has won his only four races by a combined 21-plus lengths and is far and away the horse to beat in the Preakness.
Justify will face three other challengers he beat two weeks ago at Churchill Downs (Good Magic, Lone Sailor and Bravazo) and four horses who skipped the Derby (Quip, Tenfold, Sporting Chance and Diamond King).
“I don’t think the draw is too important with an eight-horse field,” said D. Wayne Lukas, trainer of Bravazo and Sporting Chance. “We got a good run to the turn. I like our positions. Both of them are good.”
No. 5 Good Magic is the second choice at 3-1, and No. 1 Quip is third at 12-1. No. 2 Lone Sailor is 15-1; No. 6 Tenfold and No. 8 Bravazo are 20-1; and No. 3 Sporting Chance and No. 4 Diamond King are 30-1 on the morning line.
With rain expected at Pimlico Race Course in the days leading up to the Preakness and on race day, Lukas said he expects the pace to be similar to that of the Derby.
Justify arrived Wednesday about 90 minutes before the post-position draw. Baffert expects to take him on the track for the first time Thursday morning.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.