The company around Justify is good enough that it won't merit a fiasco the level of the 1982 college football incident to get him beat this weekend, but it will take something extraordinary to knock off a colt who has yet to be knocked back by the flurry of challengers that have come at him.
Justify was installed as the 1-2 morning-line favorite for the second leg of the Triple Crown after drawing the same post he did in the Derby at the Stronach Group chalet in the Pimlico infield.
All eyes will be on Justify, who is still undefeated in his racing career after another dominant performance in the Kentucky Derby He'll enter the race as the heavy favorite, thanks not only to his strength on the track but also to the betting public's tendency to root for a horse to win the Triple Crown. The Preakness Stakes horse race is scheduled to take place May 19.
"You can't control it", Justify trainer Bob Baffert said.
Derby runner-up Good Magic is the second choice at 3-1, but Justify is the horse to beat with the chance to give Baffert his seventh Preakness victor and a shot at a second Triple Crown in four years after American Pharoah did it in 2015.
Diamond King, victor of the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park, will also take a shot at the Derby champion, starting from the No. 4 post and listed as a 30-1 long shot.
"I like being the favorite", Baffert said Wednesday, according to ESPN. Lukas's other horse, Sporting Chance, will start from the No. 3 post and is listed as a 30-1 long shot. I like knowing that I have a chance to win.
While Justify will have to face off against a few fresh horses that made a decision to skip the Kentucky Derby, he still has never lost a race and knows how to navigate a messy track. "We all want that second leg but ... coming in here I feel the same as I did when I won it with the other ones". But if he were to make it six, he had to break the "Curse of Apollo" which dictated that horses who didn't race as a two-year-old can't win at the Derby - no such horse had accomplished the feat since Apollo did in 1882. Good Magic, which finished second in Kentucky, has the next-best odds of winning.
What Walden didn't say at that moment, but what he and Baffert believe, is that if Justify runs his race Saturday, nothing else will matter.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has two entrants, Sporting Chance and Bravazo. I think with him, he's doing the same. "He's going to be very, very hard to handle".
Quip won the Tampa Bay Derby and finished second in the Arkansas Derby.
"He went great", Elliott Walden, president and racing manager of Justify co-owner WinStar Farms, told reporters after the test run.
The well-documented bruise to his left hind heel has appeared a non-issue in his training since returning to the track last week.
The post-position draw for the Preakness was held on Wednesday afternoon, when the morning-line odds were released.