Photo source: Bob Baffert via Twitter.
We enter the early stages of May and that has horse racing fans on high alert for one of the sporting calendar’s busiest months. The Kentucky Derby gets us off to a flyer on Saturday 5th before the French 1000 Guineas takes place a week later; the Goodwood and Preakness Stakes follow.
The latter presents us with a star-studded field as the contenders battle it out for this much-loved grade one event contested over 9.5 furlongs on the dirt of Pimlico Race Course, Maryland. Cloud Computing claimed the title 12 months ago for trainer Chad Brown, banking the $1.5M prize money.
2018 will provide us with a new champion and traders are in no doubt who that will be….
Justify arrives fresh from landing a hat-trick
Followers of ante-post horse racing betting will know Justify has been a long-term leader of this market and a flick through the three-year-old’s CV explains why. The Bob Baffert-trained chestnut travels to Baltimore on a hot-streak of form this year, having won three warm-up races in February, March and April.
The team kicked off their preparation with victory around Santa Anita when scoring from runner-up Camby over seven furlongs. That was to be expected after approaching the start a nailed-on -200.00 jolly in the betting. He didn’t let followers down and gave a performance that suggested there was more in the tank.
He proved that to be the case when returning to the California track to double up in a one-mile test. Odds of -500.00 suggested the result was a foregone conclusion and the performance fell into line.
Progressive colt Justify put the finishing touches to his challenge when completing the hat-trick a month before the Preakness was due to post and it was a case of more of the same, the victor flexing his muscles. Stepping up in distance to 1m 1f, he faced a more talented field, including the likes of Bolt D’Oro, but there was little drama on-course on his way to taking the $630,000 winner’s prize.
Florida Derby winner Audible rates as main danger
Justify has captured the imagination of horse racing fans in the build-up to this year’s Baltimore spectacle with followers genuinely excited about how far this horse can go. One group who have certainly been won over is the odds compilers who have another triumph chalked up on the betting board a +350.00 fav.
A profitable horse to keep on the right side of dedicated backers of Justify are already playing with profits this year while new backers can take heart from his form, especially when racing with the backing of bookmakers.
The main danger on the day is set to come from Audible, who brings plenty of confidence to town having won the Florida Derby in March. The bay scored at Gulfstream under the ride of jockey John Velazquez, leaving Hofburg and Mississippi to battle it out for the remaining medal places.