Justify May 6 at Churchill Downs

Justify May 6 at Churchill Downs

Dale Crosby

Baffert Reports Justify Looks Great for Preakness

Preakness field beginning to take shape.

The publicity office of Maryland Jockey Club reports trainer Bob Baffert said May 7 he was not concerned about a condition in the left hind of Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) winner Justify—the leading candidate for the May 19 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.

"It's not an issue," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "It was sensitive there. It's like a diaper rash, what he's got. He looked great today."

Jimmy Barnes, Baffert's chief assistant who is overseeing Justify's care at Churchill Downs, reported that "all was good" with the Derby winner, who had his second walk day Monday and likely will have two more before returning to the track.

Justify showed signs of being off in his left hind leg when Baffert brought him out of the barn Sunday morning to show him off to assembled fans and media. The son of Scat Daddy scored an impressive victory in the May 5 Kentucky Derby over a sloppy Churchill track. 

"He did not run down. They call them scratches or whatever," Baffert said. "He's had it before. You get it from wet (tracks) and you have to soften it up. It can be irritating. When he stepped on those rocks (outside the barn), it bit him. That's why he did that. Because he was fine in the morning and today he was fine."

Baffert, who has saddled six Preakness winners, including 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah , said Justify's condition has improved.

"He will be going back to the track in a couple of days and everything will be good," he said. "He's responding to the treatment. So we're good."

Justify is scheduled to ship from Churchill to Pimlico in the middle of next week.

As for other horses being considered for the Preakness, Steve Asmussen, trainer of Preakness winners Curlin  (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009), said Monday that Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tenfold is probable for the Preakness. 

Tenfold - Oaklawn Park - Work - April 9, 2018
Photo: Coady Photography

Tenfold, a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, was fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his third career start after winning his first two races at Oaklawn Park. Tenfold worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:00 1/5 Monday morning at Churchill Downs, the seventh-fastest of 23 at the distance.

"He's a very nice horse that is getting better," Asmussen said. "I liked his work a lot today. We're expecting big things from him. I was a touch disappointed (in his Arkansas Derby). He's better than that."

Lone Sailor, who finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby, is a possible candidate for the Preakness.

"We'll see how he trains and make a decision off of that," said trainer Tom Amoss. "Whether it should be the Preakness or something else, I don't know. (The Preakness) is not out of the question."

Trainer Rodolphe Brisset continues to prepare Quip, the Lambholm SouthTampa Bay Derby (G2) winner who was second in the Arkansas Derby, for the Preakness. Quip skipped the Derby to point for the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is expected to enter both Bravazo (sixth in the Kentucky Derby) and Sporting Chance in a quest for his seventh Preakness success. Trainer John Servis, who saddled Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones  for a victory in the 2004 Preakness, will return with Federico Tesio winner Diamond King. Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic is also under Preakness consideration.