The 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes is almost here as the second jewel of the Triple Crown is set to take place in Baltimore at Pimlico Race Course, on a potentially stormy, muggy day.  The prohibitive favorite and Kentucky Derby winner Justify is in prime position to win the race for two particular reasons; a favorable post potion, and the fact that he loves a sloppy track.

Justify is red hot going into the Preakness, winning the first four races of his career, the last two by a sizable 5 and a half lengths margin.  The horse, trained by Bob Baffert, who's looking for his record-tying seventh Preakness win, is also in the same post position that he held for the Kentucky Derby.  Baffert is also 4 for 4 in the Preakness with his Derby winning horses.  Unlike the Derby, which had a 20 horse field, the Preakness will only have eight contenders, and is a half furlong shorter than the Derby at 1 3/16 miles.  The slightly shorter distance also favors Justify, as he finished the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby in 2 minutes 4.2 seconds.

Other potential contenders include the 5 horse Good Magic who finished second in the Derby to Justify, the 8 horse Bravazo, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, who finished 6th in the Derby, but certainly has the speed to be a strong contender in a small field, and the 2 horse Lone Sailor who finished eighth in the Derby, has won on a wet track, and has one of the hottest jockey's in country in Irad Ortiz Jr.

If there are chinks in the armor for Justify, then two things come to mind in particular.  First off, the Preakness will mark his fifth race in the past three months, and secondly, he has an ailing hoof from running in the slop at Churchill Downs.  Despite these possible issues, I still like Justify to win the Preakness, followed by Lone Sailor and Good Magic.  If your'e betting the trifecta, box 7-2-5, and if you feel like putting a shekel on a superfecta, I'd say bet 7-2-5-8.  Good luck and enjoy the Preakness!


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