Preakness 2018 Contenders: Horses and Jockeys with Best Chance at Pimlico

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 18, 2018

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 18: Justify, with exercise rider Humberto Gomez up, gets in his final workout in the dark in preparation for the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course on May 18, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland (Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

Most of the talk entering Saturday's running of the Preakness Stakes has been centered around Kentucky Derby winner Justify. 

After dominating the first leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs, Justify is the favorite to continue his quest for horse racing immortality. 

Although Justify is expected to lead the eight-horse field, there are a few other contenders worth watching at Pimlico Race Course. 

Of the seven other horses in the race, a pair of competitors have emerged as Justify's top threats, and with experienced jockeys on board, they could deliver a surprising win. 

          

      

Horses and Jockeys With Best Chances To Win

   

Justify (Jockey: Mike Smith) 

Justify's rightfully received the bulk of the attention entering the Preakness Stakes because of his dominant showing at the Kentucky Derby.

The Triple Crown contender has the most experience in the field behind him with jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert helping him prepare for Saturday's race. 

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Smith is one of the most accomplished American jockeys, and he holds five victories in Triple Crown races, as well as a pair of first-place finishes in the Kentucky Oaks. 

It's been quite some time since Smith visited the winner's circle at Pimlico Race Course, as his only Preakness title came in 1993 with Prairie Bayou. 

Smith and Justify seem to be the perfect horse-jockey combination, as they put together a stellar race at Churchill Downs in less than ideal conditions. 

With a sloppy track expected Saturday at Pimlico, Justify should have no problem navigating the course and setting up a run at the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes.

     

Good Magic (Jockey: Jose Ortiz) 

One of the few horses capable of testing Justify is Good Magic, who picked up a second-place finish at the Kentucky Derby. 

Just like Smith, Jose Ortiz is an accomplished jockey, but he doesn't have the wealth of victories in Triple Crown races. 

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Ortiz's first victory in one of the three big horse races came in the 2017 Belmont Stakes, when he won aboard Tapwrit. 

The 24-year-old and Good Magic developed plenty of chemistry dating back to the 2017 Breeders Cup juvenile in which they took first. 

With wins from the Breeders Cup juvenile and 2018 Blue Grass Stakes in their possession, Ortiz and Good Magic should find a way to get through the slop on the race course to pose another challenge to Justify. 

     

Quip (Jockey: Florent Geroux) 

Of the collection of horses that didn't participate in the Kentucky Derby, Quip has the best chance to upset Justify and end up in the winner's circle. 

Jockey Florent Geroux is searching for his first win in a Triple Crown race after finding plenty of success at the last few Breeders Cups. 

Geroux directed Gun Runner to the 2017 Breeders Cup Classic title and he was aboard the victorious Monomoy Girl at the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago. 

OLDSMAR, FL - MARCH 10: Quip #10, ridden by Florent Geroux wins the Tampa Bay Derby on Tampa Derby Day at Tampa Bay Downs on March 10, 2018 in Oldsmar, FL. (Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

Quip enters with a pair of impressive recent results, as he took first in the Tampa Bay Derby and second in the Arkansas Derby behind Kentucky Derby participant Magnum Moon. 

The goal for Geroux and Quip is to ride the inside line out of post No. 1 and avoid dropping into the middle of the pack. 

If Quip has a clear track ahead of him for most of the race, the pressure will be put on Justify and we could see a surprise champion. 

     

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Horseracingnation.com.

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