A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Justify seeks second jewel as top two Kentucky Derby finishers meet again in Saturday’s Preakness

By Liane Crossley
Special to NKyTribune

Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore has all the usual intrigue. Kentucky Derby winner Justify is seeking to take another jewel of the Triple Crown, runner-up Good Magic is seeking redemption and regionally connected Diamond King represents the home crowd. Other storylines include an 82-year-old trainer going for his seventh Preakness victory and a 34-year-old in his first year as an official trainer.

Justify (Photo courtesy Benoit Photography)

A field of eight was entered on Wednesday with Justify tabbed as the likely favorite in the wagering with morning line odds of 1-2. Post time is 6:48 p.m. ET with television coverage on NBC from 5:00 to 7:15 and additional broadcasts on NBCSN starting at 2:30.

At 1 3/16th miles, the 143rd Preakness is the shortest of the Triple Crown races and a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Kentucky Derby which was contested this year on a muddy surface. Horses are expected to encounter the same conditions on Saturday as relentless rain is expected to continue in the Baltimore area.

Following are summaries of the entrants and their connections to Kentucky in post-position order with native states in parentheses.

1. Quip (Ky.)

The cleverly named son of Distorted Humor is owned by a group headed by WinStar Farm in Versailles which also co-owns Justify. Both colts did their pre-training at Keeneland with Rodolphe Brisset, a former longtime chief assistant in a top stable who obtained his own trainer’s license in 2017. Both horses were scheduled to join Bob Baffert’s West Coast barn but Quip stayed behind so he could benefit from Brisset’s riding skills. Quip was second in the Arkansas Derby on April 14 in his most recent start.

Kentucky connection: Keeneland is home to Quip where Brisset is stabled. The colt won his first two career starts at Churchill Downs and Keeneland. His sire Distorted Humor—who also sired 2003 Preakness winner Funny Cide—resides at WinStar Farm in Versailles.

2. Lone Sailor (Ky.)

Lone Sailor finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby after two consecutive runner-up performances at Fair Grounds in New Orleans including the Louisiana Derby on March 24. He scored his only career victory in September.

Kentucky connection: He was sold at the Keeneland September yearling sale of $120,000. He is based at Churchill Downs.

3. Sporting Chance (Ky.)

Sporting Chance was in action at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May but not in the Kentucky Derby. He finished fourth in another upper-level race that afternoon and has not won since capturing a premiere race at Saratoga Race Course in September. He is trained by the legendary D. Wayne Lukas, a six-time winner of the Preakness.

Kentucky connection: Purchased for $575,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, Sporting Chance is stabled at Churchill Downs. His sire Tiznow resides at WinStar Farm in Versailles.

4. Diamond King (Ky.)

Diamond King

Diamond King comes to Maryland’s signature Thoroughbred race with plenty of connections to the region. He earned his ticket to the Preakness by winning the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park about 25 miles south of Pimlico. He was purchased for $235,000 a year ago at the Fasig-Tipton Co. auction at the Maryland state fairgrounds in Timonium by Charles Zacney, a key partner in 2005 Preakness winner Afleet Alex. Based at Parx racetrack near Philadelphia, he is trained by John Servis, who won the 2004 Preakness with Smarty Jones. Diamond King’s name reflects Zacney’s love of baseball that he shares with others in the partnership.

Kentucky connection: Diamond King was sold as a yearling for $55,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September sale. His sire Quality Road resides at Lane’s End in Versailles.

5. Good Magic (Ky.)

Good Magic

The Kentucky Derby runner-up won Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes on April 7. Last year he was voted North America’s champion two-year-old colt after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His name is derived from his dam Glinda the Good, a witch character in the Wizard of Oz book and movie. Good Magic’s trainer Chad Brown won last year’s Preakness with Cloud Computing.

Kentucky connection: He was sold for $1-million at the Keeneland September yearling sale. His sire Curlin, winner of the 2007 Preakness, resides at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Lexington.

6. Tenfold (Ky.)

Tenfold won his first two career races this year prior to finishing fifth in the Arkansas Derby on April 14 in his most recent effort. He is trained by Steve Asmussen who won the 2009 Preakness with Rachel Alexandra and 2007 edition with Tenfold’s sire Curlin.

Kentucky connection: Tenfold is stabled at Churchill Downs.

7. Justify (Ky.)

Unbeaten in four starts, the Kentucky Derby winner is trained by Bob Baffert who has never lost the Preakness with a Derby winner. Baffert won with eventual Triple Crown hero American Pharoah in 2015 and with Derby winners Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002). He also took the 2001 Preakness with Point Given and 2010 renewal with Lookin At Lucky. A victory in 2018 would tie him with 19th-century trainer Robert Walden for most victories. Justify ended the so-called “curse of Apollo” in reference to that 1882 Derby winner, who had been the only Kentucky Derby winner who did not race as a two-year-old.

Kentucky connection: Purchased for $500,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, Justify was stationed at Keeneland for his early training last year.

8. Bravazo (Ky.)

Bravazo is trained by legendary D. Wayne Lukas, who at age 82, rides on the track each morning alongside the Thoroughbreds in his care. Lukas, who is tied with Baffert to rank second among Preakness-winning trainers, has taken the race six times. He won in 2013 with Oxbow, who raced for Bravazo’s owner Calumet Farm. His other winners are Codex (1980), Tank’s Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995) and Charismatic (1999). Sixth in the Kentucky Derby, Bravazo won Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans on February 17 prior to finishing unplaced in that track’s Louisiana Derby.

Kentucky connection: He campaigns for his breeder—the legendary white-fenced Calumet Farm in Lexington that is now owned by Kentucky native Brad Kelley. Under previous ownership, Calumet Farm won the Preakness Stakes a record eight times. His sire Awesome Again — also sire of the aforementioned Oxbow — is at Adena Springs in Paris. Bravazo is based at Churchill Downs.

Lexington-based freelance writer Liane Crossley is a lifelong lover of Thoroughbred racing who has held a variety of jobs in both barns and offices. Her favorite part of the industry is being with the horses and the people who share her passion for them. She can be reached at crossleyliane@yahoo.com

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