Justify Wins 2018 Preakness to Keep Triple Crown Bid Alive

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2018

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 17:  Justify with Humberto Gomez gallops in preparation for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse on May 17, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

Bring on the Belmont.

Justify won the Preakness on Saturday at Baltimore's foggy Pimlico Race Course, putting him one race away from becoming the 13th horse in history to win racing's Triple Crown.

NBC Sports shared the footage of the race:

American Pharoah was the last horse to accomplish the feat, in 2015, ending a 37-year drought that dated back to Affirmed's 1978 win. Between then, 13 horses won the first two legs of the Derby only to fall short at New York's Belmont Stakes.

Justify is looking to avoid making that list and will be gunning to instead join American Pharoah as the second horse this decade to make history on June 9 at the Belmont.

As for Saturday's results, Justify was tested, narrowly pulling out the win in a tight finish. Bravazo finished second, while Tenfold came in third.

Twitter quickly responded to the result:

For trainer Bob Baffert, it was another fantastic result in a career full of them. As ESPN Stats & Info noted, it was Baffert's 14th Triple Crown race win, pulling him even with D. Wayne Lukas for the most in history among trainers.

"That was a nail biter," Baffert said after the race, per Rick Ritter of CBS Baltimore. "Someone had to give, just glad it wasn't us."

Indeed, it wasn't easy for jockey Mike Smith and Justify, however. Good Magic matched him stride for stride for much of the race, taking the inside position but pushing the favorite a bit wider coming around the final turn than Smith likely desired.

But Justify was strong down the final stretch, holding off a strong push from Bravazo and Tenfold. Good Magic ultimately finished fourth in a final group that was bunched closely together.

Justify showed resolve on Saturday, battling through the muck and fog and a field that put up quite the fight. But it wasn't a dominant performance, either, a fact that didn't go unnoticed:

Still, the race makes the Belmont Stakes historically relevant, and the folks running the race surely couldn't be happier:

The horse racing world will be hoping to see history as well. Justify has now won five straight races and already became the first horse since 1882 to win at the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old, ending the curse of Apollo.

"I've seen all kinds, I mean this guy, he's just special," Baffert said after that race, per Melissa Hoppert of the New York Times. "He has that presence about him."

Certainly, Justify has proved he can handle the muck and slop, as the Derby was a messy affair as well. And he's already made history once.

At the Belmont, he'll have the chance to do so again and join the ranks of horses who have completed the Triple Crown.

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