Can’t Justify picking against Kentucky Derby winner in 2018 Preakness

All eyes will be on Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, MD this Saturday for the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes. The middle jewel of the Triple Crown drew a field of eight, led by Kentucky Derby winner JUSTIFY. Post time for the 1 3/16th-mile classic is 6:48 p.m. EST; it’s the 13th of 14 races on the day. In addition to watching and wagering, don’t forget to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#7 JUSTIFY (1-2, morning-line favorite) made good on his post-time favoritism in the Kentucky Derby, winning by a comfortable 2 1/2-length margin over GOOD MAGIC. Undefeated in four lifetime starts under the care of Bob Baffert, JUSTIFY drew well once again, as he should be able to stalk the pace outside under Mike Smith. Pimlico’s oval is likely to be muddy on Saturday, which plays into JUSTIFY’s hands based on his off-track Derby victory. Unless one of his rivals takes a huge step forward, JUSTIFY should prove best in the Preakness.

#1 QUIP (12-1) skipped the Kentucky Derby to await this spot after running second in the Arkansas Derby. The 2018 Tampa Bay Derby winner has already flashed plenty of talent this year and should be primed for a peak performance in his third start off a layoff. A muddy track shouldn’t hinder him based on pedigree, nor should the slight increase in distance. The biggest knock on QUIP is his post, which might be tricky for him and Florent Geroux to negotiate as he typically chases the leaders on the outside.

#8 BRAVAZO (20-1) was five-wide on both turns in the Kentucky Derby and was hustled along early, so his sixth-place finish was a bit better than meets the eye. He’ll get a rider upgrade to Luis Saez as he attempts to give trainer D. Wayne Lukas his seventh Preakness victory. Expect BRAVAZO to drop back and try to pick up the pieces late.

#5 GOOD MAGIC (3-1) was a respectable runner-up to JUSTIFY in the Kentucky Derby just two weeks ago. The slight cutback could strengthen his late kick under Jose Ortiz, who maintains the assignment for last year’s Preakness-winning trainer Chad Brown.

The play: $3 exacta 7/1,8, $2 trifecta 7/5/1,8, $2 win 1 ($12)

DFJ analysis: See my Preakness undercard column!

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