Preakness Stakes 2018: Baffert is 4-for-4 with Derby winners in Preakness can he do it again with Justify

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Baffert 4-for-4 with Derby winners in Preakness Stakes; Justify is next up to stake the 5 timer.

Trainer Baffert talks about his winning horse, Justify. Courtesy Churchill Downs

When it comes to winning the Kentucky Derby and then heading to the Preakness, trainer Bob Baffert has been so successful that his main concern has become his waistline .

” To me, the Preakness is a lot of fun ,” Baffert said.” That's my favorite of the races because it's stress-free. Pimlico, they just do a great job. The only thing you have to watch out for is you don't overdo it on the crab cakes .”

Indeed, Baffert and Baltimore have been a tasty combination .

All four of Baffert's previous Kentucky Derby winners have gone on to win the Preakness- Silver Charm( 1997 ), Real Quiet( 1998 ), War Emblem( 2002) and American Pharoah( 2015 ). Baffert is hoping to make it 5-for-5 on Saturday when Justify is expected to be a heavy favorite to win the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course .

Baffert said there's no secret to his success .

” They're in the zone; they're just peaking out ,” Baffert said of his Derby winners.” And so we don't do a lot with them because they've just run. And( Justify) is pretty fit. We've been running him into shape, and( the Kentucky Derby) was probably his hardest race . … ” I've always taken the approach that we go there, we're ready, we need racing luck, let's see what they do. If he gets racing luck, he will be in good shape. I don't want to run any faster, simply maintaining at that same level .”

Preakness free betsBaffert's first Preakness came in 1996 with Cavonnier, who finished fourth. He's had a total of 18 Preakness starters and is 6-1-1 all-time. He also won in 2001 with Point Given( fifth in Kentucky Derby) and 2010 Lookin at Lucky( sixth in Kentucky Derby ).

Baffert said his approach to the two-week turnaround from the Kentucky Derby to the Preakness hasn't changed much since 1996.

” We've been through this a few times, so we don't do anything different ,” he told.” We just go in there and have a good time .”

D. Wayne Lukas also has six Preakness victories, the most recent coming with Oxbow in 2013. Lukas said he didn't like Always Dreaming's chances to win the Preakness last year after winning the Kentucky Derby and was correct, as Always Dreaming finished eighth in Baltimore .

Lukas, who will saddle Bravazo and Sporting Chance on Saturday, said he likes what he considers in Justify .

” You have to have a fighter ,” Lukas said.” The other thing is, it truly helps if your horse has had an easier race in the Derby. Justify did. Justify had an easy race, a good trip-up , no trouble. So it didn't take a lot out of him, in my opinion .”

Along with putting himself in position to win another Triple Crown, Baffert can climb a pair of prestigious listings with a victory Saturday .

Baffert and Lukas are tied for second all-time in Preakness victories behind Robert Wyndham Walden( seven ). Baffert also has 13 victories in Triple Crown races, tied with Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons and one behind Lukas( 14) for the all-time leading .

Recently asked about those records, Baffert stopped a reporter before he could finish the question .

” I don't want to be jinxing it right now ,” he said.” We simply want to get to the Preakness, and we want that horse to run. I never think about violating records or anything like that. We live for the moment, and right now the moment is this race .”

Lukas told Baffert looks to have the right horse to achieve the feat .

” You've got to have a horse that's tough ,” Lukas said.” You can't have one these soft horses, lightweight horses, horses that need some management going into the Derby. When you come out of the Derby, you've got to have a blue-collared, tough horse. If you don't have a tough horse, the two weeks are going to jump up and bite you .”

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Bravazo( 20-1)
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