Two down, one to go for Justify.
The big, powerful three-year-old added the Preakness Stakes championship to his ledger, and if he can win the Belmont Stakes on June 9, he will become the sport's second Triple Crown winner in the last four racing seasons.
The foggy conditions made it somewhat difficult for the spectators at Pimlico Race Course to see the full race, and Good Magic challenged Justify throughout the 1 3/16-mile race.
Those two made a clear lead early, and since Good Magic had a more inside position running from the No. 5 post compared to Justify running from the seven hole, he was able to keep Justify from the lead for much of the race.
The two horses were largely nose-to-nose, but when they reached the top of the stretch, Justify was able to get to the front and hold his position.
Good Magic continued to fight gamely, but Bravazo and Tenfold overtook him in the final strides to place and show, respectively.
Preakness Stakes Payout (Based on $2 Bet), per NBC Sports
1st: Justify (Win: $2.80; Place: $2.80; Show: $2.60)
2nd: Bravazo (Place: $7.60; Show: $4.80)
3rd: Tenfold (Show: $6.80)
Preakness Stakes Results List
Win ($900,000): Justify; Jockey: Mike Smith; Trainer: Bob Baffert
Place ($300,000): Bravazo; Jockey: Luis Saez; Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Show ($165,000): Tenfold; Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.; Trainer: Steve Asmussen
4th ($90,000): Good Magic; Jockey: Jose Ortiz; Trainer: Chad Brown
5th ($45,000): Lone Sailor; Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.; Trainer: Thomas Amoss
6th: Sporting Chance; Jockey: Luis Contreras; Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
7th: Diamond King; Jockey: Javier Castellano; Trainer: John Servis
8th: Quip; Jockey: Florent Geroux; Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset
Trainer Bob Baffert has now won five Preakness Stakes races with horses that won the Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah was able to earn the third jewel of the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes. None of Baffert's other two-jewel winners was able to come through.
The Belmont Stakes is known as the test of champions because it is the longest of the three races. It is a grueling 1 1/2 miles, and it is often made even tougher for horses that have run in the first two jewels of the triple crown because there may be several horses in the race that are fresh and have not run in either of the Triple Crown races.
Baffert was thrilled that his horse was able to outlast Good Magic, who pressed him so hard in the Preakness. "That was a nail biter," Baffert said on the NBC broadcast after the race (h/t Rick Ritter of CBS Baltimore). "Someone had to give, just glad it wasn't us."
Baffert later added that he was thrilled with the horse's Triple Crown possibilities. "We are going to do everything we can to get him ready. He's a wonderful, beautiful horse and this has been a wonderful journey, and I am so glad we are talking about this (a Triple Crown)."
Jockey Mike Smith thought his horse came with an excellent effort. "I feel blessed to be riding this horse, and I'm on cloud nine," Smith told NBC's Laffit Pincay Jr. "I thought he got a little tired at the end and he also faced excellent competition. He was tired, but it was a good kind of tired."
The Preakness took on the appearance of a match race, as Justify and Good Magic were able to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. If both horses had hit the gas pedal harder, Justify might not have been able to last without giving up the lead.
But the replay shows that Smith knew exactly what he was doing in piloting his horse around the track, and he still had enough to power by Good Magic when the race reached the top of the stretch.
Bravazo was expected to be a come-from-behind runner in this race, but he was in third place for much of the early going. He had plenty of steam coming down the stretch, and he might have passed Justify if he had another couple of strides prior to reaching the wire.
But he did not, and that's horse racing.
Thoroughbred racing has another potential Triple Crown winner after American Pharoah accomplished the feat in 2015, and Justify will get a chance to become the sport's 13th Triple Crown winner when he runs at Belmont Park on June 9.
OddsShark lists Justify as -120 (bet $120 to win $100) to win the Belmont Stakes and take the Triple Crown, while a "no" bet is also offered at -120.