Trainer Chad Brown said Tuesday morning that he is still considering a start in the 143rd Preakness Stakes (G1) for Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Good Magic – setting up a possible rematch with Derby winner Justify – at Pimlico Race Course May 19.
“I’m not sure,” Brown said about his plans for the son of Curlin co-owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Farm. Brown acknowledged that there was no pressure to make a quick decision on whether to send the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner and 2-year-old male champion to the Preakness. The morning after the race, Brown said he would watch how the colt came out of the race and discuss how to proceed with the owners.
Noting with a chuckle that “my trainer’s license has expired,” Bob Edwards of e Five said that the owners will rely on Brown’s advice.
“Chad is one of the best guys in placing horses in spots where you’re going to get in the money or win,” Edwards said. “He wants this horse to win and he’s going to put this horse in the best position to win.”
Good Magic was shipped from Louisville to Brown’s barn at Belmont Park on Monday. Brown said the son of 2007 Preakness winner Curlin would go back to the track for his morning exercise on Wednesday.
In the Derby, Good Magic and jockey Jose Ortiz stalked the 5-2 favorite Justify and made a run toward the front in the second turn. Justify responded to the challenge at the top of the stretch and posted a 2½-length victory.
Quip Confirmed for Run in Middle Jewel of Triple Crown
WinStar Farm president and CEO Elliott Walden said Tuesday that Quip is officially headed to the Preakness Stakes for a clash with Kentucky Derby winner Justify, who is also co-owned by WinStar.
Quip, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and second in the Arkansas Derby (G1), was kept out of the Kentucky Derby to point for the Preakness after Keeneland-based trainer Rodolphe Brisset thought the colt needed extra time.
“He deserves the opportunity,” Walden said. “We purposely skipped the Derby pointing for the Preakness. We looked at it at that time and asked the question, if we did win the Derby, would we still run Quip in the Preakness? We all kind of answered, ‘Yes.’ But I wanted to take a fresh look at it after the race and make sure.”
Quip and Kentucky Derby winner Justify share ownership through WinStar and China Horse Club. SF Bloodstock is a partner in Quip but sold its racing rights for Justify to Starlight Racing while retaining breeding rights. Quip will race with jockey Florent Geroux wearing WinStar’s silks.
“Justify is going to be the prohibitive favorite,” Walden said. “If you’re looking at it with a Quip hat on, you would think he would be a very difficult horse to beat but that you’re as live as anybody else.”
Another Routine Day for Kentucky Derby Hero Justify
Unbeaten Justify, the Kentucky Derby winner in only his fourth lifetime start and only the second horse to win without racing as a 2-year-old, had another routine walk day Tuesday at Churchill Downs as he prepares for the Preakness Stakes.
“Justify is going to walk one more day, I believe,” Jimmy Barnes, who is overseeing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s small contingent in Louisville, said of the Derby champ’s expected return to the track for training Thursday. “That’s what Bob said. He may change his mind and go tomorrow. But he said we’re probably going to walk four days.”
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In its relative infancy, Justify co-owner WinStar Farm has won the Kentucky Derby twice, including with Super Saver in 2010, and the Belmont Stakes twice with Drosselmeyer in 2010 and Creator in 2016. But the Central Kentucky farm has never won the 1 3/16-mile Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. During his training career, WinStar president and CEO Elliott Walden was second twice in the Preakness, with eventual Belmont winner Victory Gallop in 1998 and Menifee in 1999.
“We’re looking forward to the Preakness,” Walden said. “He looked like to me, other than that irritation (on a hind leg), he came out of the race great. He looked bright and was feeling very good, had a good energy level.”
WinStar will be attempting to visit the Preakness Stakes winner’s circle for the first time.
“We haven’t won a Preakness, except that we had secured (2016 winner) Exaggerator for stallion duty,” Walden said Sunday. “We didn’t have any ownership in the horse until he retired. But yeah, that’s the one race we haven’t had a win it yet. So it would be exciting to actually do that.
“It’s a little bit looser atmosphere; there isn’t as much pressure. With Justify you might feel a little more pressure. We might have the same pressure as coming into Kentucky, with the expectations being so high. But it’s a good week in Baltimore. They do a great job making you feel welcome. They’re excited you’re in town and they are very accommodating. And it’s also kind of a short buildup. With the Kentucky Derby, we’ve been worrying about this, thinking about it, living and breathing it for three months now as you walk through these preps. This is a quick turnaround. This is going to feel like this,” added Walden, snapping his fingers, ‘when the Preakness comes a week from Saturday.”
Lukas Doubling Up in Quest for 7th Preakness Win
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will have two chances to get a record-tying seventh Preakness victory, with both Bravazo and Sporting Chance on target for the 1 3/16-mile classic. Lukas said he expects to have his jockeys finalized by this Wednesday.
Bravazo finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby after making a big move around the far turn to the sixteenth pole before weakening. Sporting Chance, winner of last summer’s Hopeful Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, rallied late to get fourth in the Pat Day Mile (G3) on the Derby undercard.
Both colts had a walk day Tuesday and will resume training Wednesday at Churchill Downs, Lukas said.
“They’re doing great,” Lukas said. “They are both bright and were out there on the grass [grazing] full of themselves.
“We’re looking forward to it. Sporting Chance got roughed up pretty good about the half-mile pole. A horse came over and hit him in the hip and spun him around and the rider darn near came off. But then he recovered and finished well. It is what it is. We all ran over the same surface,” Lukas added.
“Realistically it’s Justify’s race to lose, just that simple. He’s the best horse. Not always the best horse wins in the Kentucky Derby, and this year the best horse won. To go into Baltimore and take him back on is definitely going to be a challenge. I’ll never be afraid, but I’m realistic enough to know he’ll be very difficult to beat. But you can’t mail it in. They run and things happen. We’ve been there before. I mean, Oxbow wasn’t supposed to beat those horses either, and he did easy.”
Oxbow finished sixth in the 2013 Kentucky Derby before handily beating Derby winner Orb in the Preakness to give Lukas his most recent Triple Crown triumph.
Lukas said the horses will likely van to Pimlico Monday
Other 3-year-olds being considered for the Preakness are G M B Racing’s Lone Sailor, who finished eighth in the Derby; Cash is King and D.J. Stable and LC Racing’s Diamond King, the winner of the Federico Tesio at Laurel last time out; Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tenfold, fifth in the Arkansas Derby, and Valene Farm’s Givemeaminit, who finished third in the Pat Day Mile.
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The second jewel of the Triple Crown will be run on Saturday May 19 at Pimlico. The big day of racing has seven supporting stakes including the Sir Barton Stakes, Miss Preakness Stakes (G3), Dixie Stakes (G2), Gallorette Handicap (G3), James W. Murphy Stakes, The Very One Stakes and the Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3). Report available by May 18