May 24, 2018
To say that the weather during this year’s Preakness Stake was slippery is an understatement. A solid week of heavy rains turned the Baltimore-based Pimlico Race Course into liquid mud. By the time guests arrived, the track was hazardously slick; forcing jockeys to put on several pairs of goggles to protect their eyes from splashing mud. A thick fog cloaked the track as well, at times so thick, the horses were barely visible on the track.
The foggy, muddy conditions had absolutely no affect on guest turnout. ClearSpan enthusiastically joined the crowd of 134,487 people, the third biggest crowd in the history of the Preakness. The betting handle of $93,655,128 was also the third largest in Preakness history. The day before the race, ClearSpan toured the Pimlico Race Course and got to see some of the champions, including Justify, face-to-face.
It wasn’t immediately obvious that Justify would win the 143 Preakness Stakes. For much of the race, Justify and Good Magic kept pace with one another. However, in the home stretch, Justify edged out Good Magic and earned his second victory in just two weeks.
Justify’s perfect 4-for-4 means that he remains undefeated. He is also the first horse to win the derby without racing as a two-year-old since 1882. Many have declared that Justify has finally broken the Curse of Apollo, which references the fact that no horse won the Kentucky Derby after not starting as a two-year-old since Apollo in 1882.
Justify’s very first race took place at Santa Anita Park in California on February 18th this year. He won by 9 ½ lengths, becoming a contender for the Kentucky Derby straight away. It took just 3 months for Justify to go from obscurity to the biggest racing superstar since American Pharoah. Not only did Justify win the 143 Preakness Stakes amidst thick fog and mud, he also recovered from a bruised heel he acquired during the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness win puts him within one leg of the Triple Crown and marks the most challenging race of his short career.