Kentucky Derby winner Justify has fought his to victory in the Preakness Stakes to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive.
The Bob Baffert-trained colt held off several hard-charging challengers in the fog on a sloppy track similar to the conditions he encountered in the DErby at Churchill Downs.
Baffert trained the most recent Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015.
Justify showed no ill effects from a bruised heel on his left hind foot that was discovered in the aftermath of the Derby, an injury Baffert insisted would not be a problem.
Justify and Derby runner-up Good Magic went to the lead early and traded positions throughout the Preakness (1900m).
In the end Good Magic had to settle for fourth with Bravazo second, and Tenfold third.
“They had their own private match race,” Baffert said. “He’s just a great horse to handle all that pressure and keep on running.”
Baffert tied veteran D. Wayne Lukas’ record with his 14th victory in a Triple Crown race and matched 19th-century trainer R W Walden with his seventh Preakness title.
Baffert also remains undefeated with Derby winners in the Preakness following Silver Charm, Real Quiet, War Emblem and American Pharoah.
Justify showed more evidence of being the same kind of super horse as American Pharoah, and Baffert has repeatedly drawn comparisons between them
Jockey Mike Smith won the Preakness for just the second time in 17 tries, 25 years after his first aboard Prairie Bayou.
Justify is the 36th horse to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
“I’m so happy that we got it done,” Baffert said. “I’ve never had one run that fast here.”
The third leg of the Triple Crown is at Belmont in three weeks.
That was seriously one of the most epic races ive seen with some of the craziest fog… could see Justify until he was right at the line!!! This Head on is EPIC!!! #Preakness2018 pic.twitter.com/bhZYJbKk0d
— Alex Evers (@A_Evers) May 20, 2018