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Post Time: Justify set as 1-2 favorite in Preakness

The post position draw for the 143rd running of the $1.5 million Grade 1 Preakness Stakes was held late this afternoon at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, which included eight entries into Saturday's second jewel of the Triple Crown.

We’re likely to get wet once again as rain is in the forecast through the weekend in Baltimore. Half of the field ran in the Derby and the other half are making their Triple Crown race debut on Saturday.

The race will be televised nationally on NBC (Ch. 2) on Saturday afternoon during a telecast starting at 5 p.m. ET. Post time for the Preakness is approximately 6:48 p.m. ET. Pre-race programming will be on NBC Sports Network commencing at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Kentucky Derby winner Justify was installed as the heavy 1-2 favorite. The Maryland Jockey Club's signature race has been won by 72 favorites. Since 2003, five Derby winners have repeated in the Preakness, but have failed to win the Belmont Stakes, with only a sixth winner, American Pharoah (2015), able to complete the Triple Crown (first since 1978).  Justify arrived on the Pimlico grounds shortly before the draw from Kentucky.

Bob Baffert has six Preakness wins and 13 Triple Crown race wins heading into the race with Justify. A win would tie him for the most Preakness training wins with R. Wyndham Walden who won it seven times in the 1800’s. As he did in the Derby, his fifth Derby winner will be coming out of the lucky No. 7 post.

Good Magic (3-1), is the second choice on the morning line and drew the No. 5 post, two posts inside the favorite for the Derby runner-up who has been working at the track most of the week.  For the eight runner-ups that have run, only Exaggerator (2016) won the Preakness and only three have hit the board, Bodemeister (second, 2012) and Hard Spun (third, 2007) being the other two.  Good Magic’s sire, Curlin, won the 2007 Preakness.

In the last 17 years, only three horses that did not run in the Derby ended up winning the Preakness. Last year Cloud Computing became the third in that time frame overtaking Classic Empire at the wire for trainer Chad Brown. The other winners were Rachel Alexandra who ran in the Kentucky Oaks in 2009 and Bernardini won in 2006, in the race that the great Barbaro broke down. The chances are high that one of the Derby horses will come through at Old Hilltop.

The post that has the most winners since 1909 is Post No. 6, which has 15 Preakness winners, was drawn by the connections of Tenfold (20-1) who will be between the two favorites.

Wayne Lukas will run two horses in the Preakness, Bravazo (20-1) who comes off a sixth-place finish in the Derby and last year’s Saratoga Special winner Sporting Chance (30-1). He has won the Preakness six times and has the current Triple Crown record with 14 wins in the classics.

Watch for this weekend’s winner when it comes around to determining the 3-year-old Eclipse Award winner. The Preakness winner has claimed the Eclipse Award 15 times in the last 21 years.

Here's a look at the posts, jockeys, trainers and morning line odds set by the Maryland Jockey Club:

PP Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Quip Geroux Brisset 12-1
2 Lone Sailor Ortiz Jr. Amoss 15-1
3 Sporting Chance Contreras Lukas 30-1
4 Diamond King Castellano Servis 30-1
5 Good Magic Ortiz Jr. Brown 3-1
6 Tenfold Santana Jr. Asmussen 20-1
7 Justify Smith Baffert 1-2
8 Bravazo Saez Lukas 20-1


Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association and tweets @EquiSpace.

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