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Preakness Stakes horse-by-horse analysis

Kentucky Derby winner Justify is washed on Wednesday

Kentucky Derby winner Justify is washed on Wednesday after arriving at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Credit: AP / Patrick Semansky


Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Record: 5-3-1-0

Post position: 1

Odds: 12-1

Last 3: 2-1-7

Skipped the Derby because his connections thought he needed a rest. Was pointed for the Preakness by WinStar Farm, which also co-owns Justify. Pulled off a 10-1 upset in the Tampa Bay Derby before finishing a game second to then-undefeated Magnum Moon in the Arkansas Derby. Has tactical speed, strong late-pace figures and should be set for a big effort. He’s never faced a colt like Justify, however, so everything must go his way.


Trainer: Tom Amoss

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Record: 9-1-3-1

Last 3: 8-2-2

Post position: 2

Odds: 15-1

Still eligible for a first-level allowance and has lost seven in a row. Closer is 0-for-5 in graded stakes, with his best result a second-place finish in a substandard Louisiana Derby. He’s won on a wet track, so best case is he’s second or third because other horses hate the likely sloppy conditions.


Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Luis Contreras

Record: 7-2-1-1

Last 3: 4-3-5

Post position: 3

Odds: 30-1

He’s 0-for-3 around two turns and looks like a sprinter-miler unsuited for the classic distances. Lost all chance and finished fourth after being checked sharply in Pat Day Mile on Derby Day. Red flag: He refused to breeze Sunday and galloped instead. Winless beyond 7 furlongs, and will not make any impact at 1 3/16 miles.


Trainer: John Servis

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Record: 6-4-0-1

Last 3: 1-3-1

Post position: 4

Odds: 30-1

Game winner of the ungraded Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel may have another forward move in him. Not sure that would be enough, because he’s taking a giant leap in class. Servis trained 2004 Derby-Preakness winner Smarty Jones, who crushed the Preakness the way Justify is expected to.


Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Record: 6-2-3-1

Last 3: 2-1-3

Post position: 5

Odds: 3-1

Brown rarely brings horses back in two weeks, but he wasn’t planning to run Good Magic in the Belmont, so he’s taking a shot. He’s training well, so Brown figured he might be able to make up the 2½-length Derby margin. He admits he’s in a tough spot. “He needs to move forward again,” Brown said, “and we need Justify to come back to us a little bit. I think it’s not out of the question.’’ Difficult, but not impossible.


Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Record: 3-2-0-0

Last 3: 5-1-1

Post position: 6

Odds: 20-1

Inexperienced colt’s strong point is his excellent distance pedigree (Curlin out of a Tapit mare). Curlin’s offspring tend to like off tracks. Ran a respectable fifth in Arkansas Derby, half a length behind Quip, in only his third start. Decent figures and plenty of room to improve. Asmussen has more than 8,000 wins, so trust his judgment. Play him underneath Justify in exactas and hope he can pass tired horses late.


Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Mike Smith

Record: 4-4-0-0

Last 3: 1-1-1

Post position: 7

Odds: 1-2

Undefeated Derby winner looks unbeatable and unbettable. Barring a very bad trip, he should dominate and give Baffert a shot at his second Triple Crown in four years. Baffert is chasing a seventh Preakness win and 14th in a Triple Crown race, which would tie the all-time records of R.W. Walden and D. Wayne Lukas, respectively. Lukas said he expects Justify to equal American Pharoah’s historic achievement in 2015.


Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Luis Saez

Record: 9-3-1-1

Last 3: 6-8-1

Post position: 8

Odds: 20-1

Outran his 66-1 odds when he finished sixth in the Derby, where he improved late after enduring a rough trip. Hasn’t done much besides his 21-1 upset by a nose in the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star at the Fair Grounds. Speed figures are uninspiring; can’t make a case for him.

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