Justify’s Competitors Hoping for Dry Track for Belmont Stakes
The northern hemisphere’s version of Chris Waller, Bob Baffert, has won the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes with his horse Justify.
Justify won the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby in the mud at the beginning of May and the win of the Preakness Stakes given the three-year-old thoroughbred two of the three legs in America’s Triple Crown.
Horseracing will now be a perceptible blip on the radar of the general public of the U.S., as the potential for a Triple Crown commands some attention up until the final leg, the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, is contested in the state of New York on June 10 (AEDT) at Belmont Park.
Justify was nearly thwarted in the Preakness. He was, as expected, on the speed, as the sloppy dirt track was not the sort on which to be running off the pace.
He was worked hard by his main competitor, Good Magic, the horse that ran second in the Kentucky Derby. In the stretch, with Justify apparently having put Good Magic away, Bravazo and Tenfold made hard charges and would have passed Justify had the post been another 10 metres on.
Justify now has a three week rest to prepare for the Belmont Stakes, a luxury compared to the two-week turnaround between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
If he is successful, he will be the second Triple Crown winner in three years, as Baffert’s former champion California Chrome won all three races in 2015, following almost four decades with no Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Justify has now won all five of his starts, evoking immediate comparisons to Seattle Slew, who won the Triple Crown the year prior to Affirmed.
Had the Preakness been scheduled to run at Eagle Farm, it would have been suspended, but in the U.S., where the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) controls the broadcast rights, horses are expected to walk on water if necessary and Justify justified the impression of many that he is a prime mudder.
Justify is a $22.20 favourite on Ladbrokes and will face at least a few that ran in the Kentucky Derby, but skipped the Preakness to spell for the Belmont.