Justify remained unbeaten with a hard-fought, half-length victory in the Preakness Stakes on May 19 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.
Challenged from start to finish by champion Good Magic with the top four separated by a length, there was plenty of chatter after the race about the result as well as the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.
“It was a nail-biter. They put it to us. That was a good horse [Good Magic] and it was like they had their own private match race. Somebody had to give, and I’m glad it wasn’t us.”
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert after winning the Preakness with Justify
“He got a little tired. This is the hardest race that he’s had, but he was also waiting on competition. It was awful loud out there and the track’s pretty narrow and he was kind of looking and jumping tracks and doing a few things, but it was a good kind of tired. It was that kind of tired I’m hoping, anyway, and I feel like he’ll move forward.”
Mike Smith describing his Preakness win aboard Justify
“What I saw of it, I liked a lot. I want them to extend it another 50 yards. He was running on in the end. Luis (Saez) did a good job. A very good horse won the race, a very good horse. We ran at him. We kept him honest just like we said we would. Bob’s tough in these and if he gets the right horse, he’s really tough. But, kudos to him, and we’ll see what happens in the next one.”
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas after finishing second with Bravazo
“When we came to the three-eighths pole Justify and Good Magic took off on us. Because me horse doesn’t have a quick turn of foot, it took me time to get him going. He was coming and coming down the stretch, and I thought we were going to catch Justify.”
Luis Saez, rider of Preakness runner-up Bravazo
“He was a little farther back than I thought he would be. He was pretty wide around the first turn. You see them down the backside, and you know he got in a great position into the second. When they came out of the fog, he was in the game. I’d say he got beat three-quarters of a length for all of it. He’s a top-class horse who is getting better. We were three-quarters of a length away from where we want to be, let’s figure out how to get it.”
Steve Asmussen, trainer of Preakness third-place finisher Tenfold
“Absolutely. Heck, yes.”
Asmussen, when asked if Preakness third-place finisher Tenfold would go on to the Belmont Stakes in three weeks
“No, I didn't want the horse on the lead. I'm disappointed with the trip. The post didn't help. We were inside [Justify] the whole way. Unfortunately, our horse took the worst of it being on the fence and getting pressed the whole way. He's just not a horse that runs on the lead, so I'm pretty disappointed. He didn't give up. I know this horse very well and he's not a horse to be on the lead. No way.
Chad Brown, trainer of champion Good Magic, who contested the pace and faded to fourth
“Mike [Smith on Justify] broke very well as we expected and he stayed in the middle of the track which I knew he was going to do. I tried to take back a little but the pace wasn’t too fast. He was relaxed but Mike was just sitting chilly on his horse. We were going very easy. I made my run the same time he did, but I didn’t have horse underneath me.”
Jose Ortiz, rider of Preakness fourth-place finisher Good Magic
“He got beat 2 1/2 lengths, but I don’t know anything else. I know we went by the grandstand last but fairly close, closer than last time. I know I broke better. But after that, I can’t tell you much. … Look, Justify was favored. We were 2 1/2 lengths from Justify today, which is a moral victory.”
Tom Amoss, trainer of Preakness fifth-place finisher Lone Sailor
“He got really in trouble. He got wiped out in the first turn, big time.”
D. Wayne Lukas on sixth-place finisher Sporting Chance
“I didn't get to see much. Javier [Castellano] said he broke a step slow and he had to use him a little bit to get position. Once he was in position he was comfortable. On the turn, they started to quicken, he asked him, and he started to quicken, but he just couldn't keep up. No real excuse.”
John Servis, who trained 2004 Preakness winner Smarty Jones, on this year’s seventh-place finisher, Diamond King
“Out of the gate, I missed the first step and that cost me a little bit. He was off the pace, and we dropped three, four lengths behind. I had a good trip after that. He didn't really take to the track and it was tough to try to put him in the game.”
Javier Castellano, rider of seventh-place finisher, Diamond King
“It looked like we had a good trip but he just stopped. We were in good position. It looks like he came back OK."
Rodolphe Brisset, trainer of Quip, who finished last of eight in the Preakness