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Derby Winner Justify May Face Fresh Horses I



Monday, May 7, 2018
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – The competition is not lining up to face Kentucky derby winner Justify in the Preakness.

Of his 19 rivals in the derby, it seems most will miss the return leg of the Triple Crown in favor of rest and pointing to other races. This usually leaves fresh horses left to fill the maximum 14-horse Preakness field.

One day after Justify has driven to a 2½-length victory in the Slop, coach Bob Baffert and his star horse pulled a horde of visitors into a barn in Churchill Downs

Baffert led his fifth Derby winner from the barn and accompanied him in a tight circle for fans eager to take photos on their cell phones. The fox's coat shone in the morning light and he nibbled on some baby carrots that Baffert pulled out of his waistcoat pocket.

"He knows he is a stud dog," said Baffert.

It Was A Quick Look] As Justify playfully shook his head, Baffert knew it was best to bring the champion back to his stable where he could not accidentally kick anyone.

"When I came out of the stall, he moved me," the coach said. "Usually they are a bit tired, but he was good."

Baffert's phone rang on Sunday with an official invitation to bring Justify to the Preakness on May 19 in Baltimore.

"I did not say it. I think about it," he said. "There is no reason to say no."

Baffert will pursue his record-breaking seventh Preakness victory. His four other Derby winners – Silver Charm, Real Quiet, War Emblem and American Pharoah – won the 1 3/16-mile race.

Of course, the American Pharoah took the Belmont and completed the first triple crown of the sport sweep in 37 years.

But Baffert is not going there yet.

"At the moment I think just keep him healthy."

Baffert plans to leave Justify at Churchill Downs until he seems to be the fox colt to Pimlico on Wednesday of the racing week

Derby runner-up Good Magic, last year's two-year champion and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, in not to run the Preakness. However, New York-based coach Chad Brown said he would weigh his options before making a final decision.

"I'd like to give myself a little space to really watch the horse," Brown said. "The horse will tell us."

D. Wayne Lukas expects two Preakness Runners: Bravazo, sixth in the Derby and Sporting Chance, fourth in the Pat Day Mile on the Derby Undercard. Lukas has won the Preakness six times already.

Fresh horses include Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip and Federico Tesio winner Diamond King.

Quip had enough qualifying points to get into the Derby field, showing him the Preakness. The colt is owned by WinStar Farm, one of Justify's numerous owners

Todd Pletcher, who does not like running his horses in two weeks, said Audible (third in the Derby), Magnum Moon, Vino Rosso and Noble Indy would return to his New York base.

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