Lady and The Track | July 25, 2021

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Two Down, One To Go For Justify

Baffert Colt Will Seek Triple Crown In Belmont Stakes After Derby, Preakness Victories

By Margaret Ransom

By the time the Kentucky Derby (GI) winner makes it to the second jewel of the Triple Crown in the Preakness Stakes (GI) every year, it’s no secret he wears a giant bullseye on his back — the target of those who finished behind him in the Run for the Roses, as well as for some fresh runners who try to use the two-week turnaround to their benefit. Strategies are carefully planned out, chinks in the Derby-winner’s armor are assessed and the connections of those who dare to challenge in Baltimore drop names and dollars into the Preakness entry box in hopes that their charge posts the upset and winds up wearing the blanket of Black-eyed Susans on the third Saturday every May.


Mike Smith celebrates aboard Justify after the colt’s frontrunning score in the 2018 Preakness Stakes, 5/19/18. Photo: Daniella Ricci

This year, three runners who started in Louisville and four new faces aimed their crosshairs at Kentucky Derby winner Justify to no avail, as the Bob Baffert-trained son of Scat Daddy withstood every challenge — including the wet weather — to capture 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes by a hard-fought half-length. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith was back aboard for the victory, which was… (more)