Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner and Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up Quip, who shares a common ownership with Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Justify, has been confirmed to meet that rival in the May 19 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico.
“He deserves the opportunity,” said WinStar Farm’s Elliott Walden. “We purposely skipped the Derby pointing for the Preakness. We looked at it at that time and asked the question, if we did win the Derby, would we still run Quip in the Preakness? We all kind of answered, ‘Yes.’ But I wanted to take a fresh look at it after the race and make sure.”
Quip and Kentucky Derby winner Justify share ownership through WinStar and China Horse Club. SF Bloodstock is a partner in Quip but sold its racing rights for Justify to Starlight Racing while retaining breeding rights. Quip will race with jockey Florent Geroux wearing WinStar’s silks.
“Justify is going to be the prohibitive favorite,” Walden said. “If you’re looking at it with a Quip hat on, you would think he would be a very difficult horse to beat but that you’re as live as anybody else.”
Meanwhile, no decision has been made regarding the Preakness participation of Derby runner-up Good Magic. Bob Edwards of co-owner e Five Racing Thoroughbreds said the owners will rely on the advice of trainer Chad Brown.
“Chad is one of the best guys in placing horses in spots where you’re going to get in the money or win,” Edwards said. “He wants this horse to win and he’s going to put this horse in the best position to win.”
Givememinit, third in last weekend’s Pat Day Mile (G3) at Churchill Downs for trainer Dallas Stewart, is now under consideration for the Preakness.
Justify had another routine walk day Tuesday at Churchill Downs.
“Justify is going to walk one more day, I believe,” said assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes. “That’s what (trainer) Bob (Baffert) said. He may change his mind and go tomorrow. But he said we’re probably going to walk four days.”
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Bravazo and Sporting Chance both had walk days Tuesday at Churchill Downs and will return to the track Wednesday.
“They’re doing great,” Lukas said. “They are both bright and were out there on the grass [grazing] full of themselves.
“We’re looking forward to it. Sporting Chance got roughed up pretty good about the half-mile pole (in the Pat Day Mile). A horse came over and hit him in the hip and spun him around and the rider darn near came off. But then he recovered and finished well. It is what it is. We all ran over the same surface
“Realistically it’s Justify’s race to lose, just that simple. He’s the best horse. Not always the best horse wins in the Kentucky Derby, and this year the best horse won. To go into Baltimore and take him back on is definitely going to be a challenge. I’ll never be afraid, but I’m realistic enough to know he’ll be very difficult to beat. But you can’t mail it in. They run and things happen. We’ve been there before. I mean, Oxbow (in 2013) wasn’t supposed to beat those horses either, and he did easy.”
Lukas said the horses will likely van to Pimlico Monday.