Live On Air

Streaming now: Prime Time Action

play Watch Live radio Listen Live

Justify leaves Baffert with no worries before Preakness

By Ron Flatter  (VSiN.com) 

IMG_20180517_084229
Justify, with exercise rider Humberto Gómez, glide over the slop at Pimlico on Thursday morning, two days before Preakness Stakes 143. (Ron Flatter photo)

Baltimore

Resist the temptation to write that the steady rain stopped when Justify stepped onto the sloppy track after 8 o’clock Thursday morning here at Pimlico.

But it did.

And resist the temptation to recall that trainer Bob Baffert’s 13-year-old son Bode was the only one who got the weather forecast right two weeks ago before Justify swam to victory in the Kentucky Derby.

But he was.

And resist the temptation to write that Baffert is undefeated in the Preakness Stakes with the four other Derby winners he has brought here.

But he is.

All these things have already been covered in great detail on social media and television and word of mouth – let alone this old-school sort of treatise we like to call a column.

Instead, the itch being scratched on arrival here is all about how Saturday’s Preakness will be run. And won. And whether Justify (1-2 morning line, 1-3 at the Wynn Las Vegas) will be alone on the lead en route to a victory that so many believe to be certain – at least based on his forecast and real-dollar odds.

“I don’t think about that,” Baffert said. “Our horse is extremely quick. You can’t worry about stuff like that.”

But bettors will, especially since Justify may have company Saturday that he was never going to have two weeks ago at the Derby. Two new shooters – Arkansas Derby runner-up Quip (12-1, 12-1) from the rail and 2017 Grade 1 winner Sporting Chance (30-1, 25-1) from the 3-hole – both figure to bring early speed. Whether they are actually able to do that and still keep up with Justify is another matter.

“Yeah, I think Sporting Chance will be very closely up,” his trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. He threw in one more candidate from his barn to challenge for the lead. “Bravazo (20-1, 18-1) could be up there from the outside position. He’s got a lot of options coming from the 8-hole.”

It seems a pipe dream to think that a speed contest could burn out Justify and set up a closer like maiden winner Lone Sailor (15-1, 30-1). Justify’s speed figures just dwarf the competition.

Then there is the matter of the weather forecast indicating the sky – and the track – will be wet all week with an 80 percent chance of continuing showers on race day. Since two of Justify’s four races – and four wins – have been on sodden tracks, Baffert might as well hire someone to seed the clouds.

“He’s just light on his feet if you saw him go around here today,” Baffert said after Justify’s easy-going jog over the slop Thursday morning. “He’s just quick, and he’s just light, and he’s smart. He’s a very intelligent horse.”

Lukas agreed.

“He’s just a complete package – a big, strong horse that’s sound. He’s got great tactical speed, a Hall of Fame trainer, a Hall of Fame rider (Mike Smith) and just a hell of a pedigree. Everything’s in order. He’s got it all. He checks all the boxes.”

Oh, and for anyone wondering about that cranky, left hind foot, Justify had the three-quarter shoe removed in favor of a full shoe for Thursday’s jog.

“I think it’s behind us,” Baffert said. “He had that one (painful) day, but then after that he’s been really good on it. He went out there today, and he didn’t feel anything. I don’t really worry about it.”

Ron Flatter’s racing column will appear daily the rest of Preakness week at VSiN.com. You may also hear the Ron Flatter Racing Pod, posted Thursday afternoon and Friday morning this week at VSiN.com/podcasts. Thursday’s special, pop-up podcast will feature VSiN’s Dave Tuley, Gaughan Gaming’s Vinny Magliulo and South Point’s Patrick McQuiggan, all focused on handicapping the Preakness. Guests Friday include Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and TVG’s Caton Bredar. Please subscribe and post a review where available at Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music and Stitcher.

back to news

FREE Email Sign-Up

Get the latest sports betting news & VSiN programming updates with this free daily email from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network.

Headlines

View All
  • Bulls' Futures Improve with DeRozan, Plus Wednesday MLB Sharp Report

    Bulls' Futures Improve with DeRozan, Plus Wednesday MLB Sharp Report

    Day 1 of NBA Free Agency was won by the Miami Heat, who improved from + 3500 to + 2500 to win the NBA Title after signing Kyle Lowry....
  • Mr. Ed's Saratoga on (about) $100 a Day (8-4)

    Mr. Ed's Saratoga on (about) $100 a Day (8-4)

    MONEY MATTER$: After three weeks, it appears Mr. Ed is better at predicting the weather than picking winners … No one promised Mr. Ed a rose...
  • youmans

    Sharps get in on preseason action

    When the NFL preseason kicks off Thursday, the only action Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger might get is a TV interview with a sideline reporter....
  • USATSI_16495000

    My favorite Olympic bets for Tuesday night/Wednesday morning

    It was a disappointing walk-off loss for Team Israel against the Dominican Republic in Olympic baseball. I thought we were going to get a nice winner...
  • reynolds

    Best bets for Memphis PGA event

    The PGA Tour took a week off for the Olympic Games but returns to Memphis for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational with an elite field of just 66 players....
  • kuhn

    Analytical look at UFC 265

    (To view the charts accompanying this report, subscribe to Point Spread Weekly) Even with the loss of an Amanda Nunes title defense, the fight card...
  • finocchiaro

    Gane, Lewis offer UFC contrasts

    UFC 265 will be held in front of a packed house Saturday in Houston. This fight card is stacked with key matchups and clashes of styles featuring fighters...
  • hill

    Split ticket: 1 bet on NFL, 1 on MLB

    Surely some of you have these types of people in your life: “You bet on the NFL preseason?” Those who judge you for betting on the NFL exhibition...
  • tuley

    Tuley's Takes on NFL topics

    I celebrated my 55th birthday Monday, and my best gift every year at the Tuley’s Takes home office party is that football season is here! The...
  • makinen_cfl

    Getting reacquainted with CFL

    Football returns this weekend, not quite in full force. But unlike the NFL preseason game Thursday night, the results actually count in the Canadian Football...
  • andrews

    Outlooks for Steelers, Cowboys

    Don’t get caught napping! Pro football returns Thursday night with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys in the annual Hall of Fame Game...
  • makinennfl

    Betting trends for HOF game

    (To view the chart accompanying this report, subscribe to Point Spread Weekly) It’s not the Super Bowl or the regular-season kickoff, but the...

custom-banner-3
VSiN Logo Plus

Free Trial

Make a risk-free bet on VSiN!

VSiN+ FREE TRIAL

  • Afternoon subscriber-only email with highlights and best bets from the day's programs
  • Point Spread Weekly, VSiN's digital magazine on sports betting
  • 24-7 Live video stream of VSiN programs plus replays
  • Any special sport-specified betting guides we do
  • All exclusive subscriber-only stories and data on VSiN.com
Sign Up Now
Google Play
App Store
Close