Baffert heads to Preakness 2018 perfect with Derby winners

May 09, 2018 12:12pm

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and his star 3-year-old Justify share a perfect 4-for-4 record heading into the 2018 Preakness Stakes. Of course, Justify has never lost a race in his short career, and remarkably Baffert has never lost the Preakness with one of his previous Kentucky Derby winners.

Justify is expected to be an odds-favorite when he enters the starting gate May 19 for the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Thirty-five times the Kentucky Derby winner has gone on to victory in the Preakness and headed to the Belmont Stakes in quest of the sweep. With a win, Justify will become the fifth horse to do that for Baffert.

1997: Silver Charm

The Hall of Famer won his first Derby in 1997 after
Silver Charm’s head-to-head stretch duel win over Captain Bodgit. Two weeks later, the son of Silver Buck came back in the Preakness and again was victorious by a head, this time over Free House.

1998: Real Quiet

The following year, it was Real Quiet that defeated Victory Gallop and the favorite Indian Charlie to get Baffert his second Kentucky Derby victory. In the Preakness, Real Quiet was still not the favorite, yet once again the $17,000 bargain yearling purchase was able to convincingly defeat the late running Victory Gallop.

2002: War Emblem

In a rare gate-to-wire victory, the 20-1 War Emblem gave Baffert his third Kentucky Derby win when he topped the 20-horse field by four lengths. Baffert teamed with jockey Victor Espinoza to come back two weeks later to take down the 2002 Preakness against Harlan’s Holiday and Medaglia d’Oro.

2015: American Pharoah

It took 13 years for the University of Arizona graduate Baffert to win another Run for the Roses. American Pharoah was worth the wait. The eventual Triple Crown winner continued the perfect streak of Derby/Preakness doubles for the California-based conditioner. American Pharoah crushed the Preakness field by seven lengths on his way to the historic victory in the Belmont Stakes.

Baffert added two other Preakness wins to make his overall record in the race 18: 6-1-1. Point Given bounced back from a fifth-place finish in the 2001 Derby to win in Baltimore by 2 1/4 lengths, turning the tables on Monarchos. In 2010, Lookin At Lucky rallied from off the pace to win the Preakness after a rail draw in the Derby made it difficult for him to find any running room for his usual closing move. Bodemeister missed a Preakness victory by a neck in 2012 to I'll Have Another.

If Justify makes it to the Pimlico starting gate, Baffert will have a chance to take down the Kentucky Derby/Preakness double yet again. Which means that he would be heading to the Belmont Stakes with the Triple Crown on the line for the fifth time.


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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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