USA TODAY — BALTIMORE — Kentucky Derby winner Justify drew the No. 7 post position for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes and was installed as a heavy 1-to-2 favorite on the morning line.
Undefeated in four starts, Justify will face seven other horses in the Preakness, including three he already defeated in the Derby and four newcomers to the Triple Crown trail.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the Preakness six times including all four times he’s brought the Kentucky Derby winner, said post position wasn’t much of a concern in an eight-horse field where there’s unlikely to be significant traffic trouble around the first turn.
“It’s not as essential because it’s a shorter field,” Baffert said “In the Derby you’re dealing with 20 horses.”
Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic was made the second choice at 3-to-1 coming out of the No. 5 post position, while Quip, who was second in the Arkansas Derby in his most recent start is the third choice at 12-to-1.
Quip, who will break from the No. 1 post, is owned by a partnership headlined by WinStar Farms and the China Horse Club, who also co-own Justify.
Baffert said Justify had no issues shipping from Churchill Downs on Wednesday, arriving at Pimlico in the afternoon.
“He looks like he came up in great shape and he was really full of himself,” Baffert said. “I could tell by the way he was dragging me around he’s on his game and that’s what you want to see a few days out.”
One issue that could potentially impact the preparation for all the horses is weather. The Baltimore area was pelted with rain on Tuesday night and for much of Wednesday, with rain in the forecast throughout the week.
Though Justify handled a sloppy track in the Kentucky Derby, the track conditions could change how much trainers want their horses galloping over it on Thursday and Friday since a heavier wet surface could be more tiring.
“You can’t control it,” Baffert said. “We’re not going to do a lot with him. The track is pretty wet, but we’re all in the same boat.”
Post position, horse, trainer, jockey, morning-line odds
1. Quip, Rodolphe Brisset, Florent Geroux, 12-1
2. Lone Sailor, Tom Amoss, Irad Ortiz Jr., 15-1
3. Sporting Chance, D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Contreras, 30-1
4. Diamond King, John Servis, Javier Castellano, 30-1
5. Good Magic, Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz, 3-1
6. Tenfold, Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana Jr., 20-1
7. Justify, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 1-2
8. Bravazo, D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Saez, 20-1
The Preakness is scheduled to run Saturday, May 19 at 4 p.m. on 9NEWS.