Trainer Bob Baffert knows that it pays to be comfortable.
Justify was just that while running out of the No. 7 post position when he won the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.
The three-year-old colt was given the same post position for Saturday's Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. That should once again be a solid starting spot for the undefeated Justify.
Justify is the 1-2 morning-line favorite in the race, and if he is going to run up to expectations, that means he will have a chance to compete for the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
However, he will have to get the best of a field of seven other horses in the Preakness. He will once again face Good Magic, the horse who challenged him at Churchill Downs and made a move at the top of the stretch that made it look as if he would threaten Justify.
That turned out to be an illusion because once jockey Mike Smith asked Justify for a little bit more speed, he delivered with a powerful stretch run and won the race by 2 1/2 lengths.
Baffert said his horse made the trip from Kentucky to Maryland in good shape.
"He looks like he came up in great shape and he was really full of himself," Baffert said, per Dan Wolken of USA Today. "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."
Good Magic's trainer, Chad Brown, seemed reluctant to try Justify again immediately after the Derby, but his horse returned in good shape and he has trained well. Good Magic will run out of the No. 5 post position and is 3-1 in the morning line.
Here's a look at the Preakness field, along with the post positions and morning-line odds, according to Pimlico track announcer Dave Rodman:
Post Position, Horse, Odds
1. Quip (12-1)
2. Lone Sailor (15-1)
3. Sporting Chance (30-1)
4. Diamond King (30-1)
5. Good Magic (3-1)
6. Tenfold (20-1)
7. Justify (1-2)
8. Bravazo (20-1)
Quip is among the new shooters that will be challenging Justify and Good Magic. Rodolphe Brisset trains Quip, who has won three races in five outings and also had a second-place finish in the Arkansas Derby.
Quip did not run in the Derby because he was somewhat slow to recover from the Arkansas race, according to Matt Shifman of Horse Racing Nation. However, Brisset said he is back in form, and he could have a good chance to make a good showing.
This horse normally runs at or near the front, and that's often a favorable style in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness. However, Quip is starting from the No. 1 post position, and the rail has been quite slow at Pimlico in recent weeks.
Diamond King will start from a more favorable No. 4 post, and he has four victories in six career starts. However, he is taking a major jump in class and may have a hard time lasting in this race.
This John Servis-trained horse has won in Maryland, and his victory in the Federico Tesio earned him a starting spot in the Preakness. He will try to get to the front, but it is unlikely he can top the best horses.
Bravazo will start from the far outside, but that's not a big problem in an eight-horse field. He was better than 66-1 in the Derby, per Equibase, but he rallied to finish sixth in that race. Bravazo likes to turn it on at the end of the race, and if Quip and Diamond King put fast fractions on the board, Bravazo could come running at the end.
Sporting Chance is a talented horse trained by D. Wayne Lukas, but he is not always a willing runner. He refused to breeze in his last outing, and the trainer is dependent on this horse having a positive attitude on race day. That is not always the case.
Tenfold is trained by Steve Asmussen, and while he has two victories to his credit, he has only been to the post three times. Lone Sailor would appear to be in over his head against this field. He has just one victory to his credit in eight career starts.