“Big Money” Mike Smith, who has now guided Justify to four out of his five wins, including Saturday's Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore, Md., offered up a detailed analysis of his eventful trip in yesterday's 1 3/16 miles classic in a radio interview Sunday morning on “Thoroughbred Los Angeles,” which airs locally on AM 830.
“It takes a whole lot to do what he did yesterday in only four starts,” said Smith. “This was his fifth race, pretty incredible.”
Due to the thick fog at Pimlico, the vast majority of Preakness viewers were unable to see the horses when they turned for home. Following the race, Smith had noted that Justify “idled” when wresting the lead from Good Magic.
Bravazo, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, closed to be second, beaten a half-length, with Tenfold a neck back in third and Good Magic another neck back in fourth.
“If I'd have kept my foot on the gas, he'd have won by farther,” Smith said. “But I had Good Magic beat and I wasn't expecting anyone to come flying the way Lukas's horse (Bravazo) did … I peeked under my shoulder, didn't see anybody and I wanted to get him home safe and sound and not get after him and make him do anymore than he had to do there at the end.
“But I'll tell you what, when (my horse) hit the wire, boy, he locked on Bravazo and he wanted to gallop out … He actually galloped out really well, so I'm confident that he's fine and he'll go on and he'll be ready for the Belmont.”
Time will obviously tell. It was back to Churchill Downs for Justify and an appointment with destiny at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 9, in the mile and one half “Test of the Champion.”
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