The middle jewel of the Triple Crown gets underway at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, as Kentucky Derby champion Justify continues his bid as horse racing history when he takes on a mostly new set set of contenders in Baltimore.
NBC Sports Network will have coverage of undercard races from 2:30 – 5 p.m. ET, and coverage will switch over to NBC from 5 – 7 p.m. ET, with the Preakness Stakes scheduled to start around 6:20 p.m. ET. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a television, you can still watch the Preakness–as well as all the undercard races–live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live television channels, including both NBC (live in most markets) and NBC Sports Network. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the race on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
FuboTV: NBC (live in most markets) and NBC Sports Network are both included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package, which is largely tailored towards sports fans. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the race live on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
DirecTV Now: NBC (live in select markets) and NBC Sports Network are both included in all four of DirecTV Now’s main channel bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch the race live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
In what will be the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes, all eyes, of course, will be on Justify. After sitting out his two-year-old season, the Bob Baffert-trained horse has gone undefeated in 2018, culminating with a two-and-a-half lengths victory in the slop at the Kentucky Derby a couple weeks ago.
Battling less than ideal weather and track conditions, Justify held off a strong field with what seemed like plenty of energy to spare. It was a magnificent performance, and the horse’s amalgam of size and speed is drawing comparisons to American Pharoah, the 2016 Triple Crown winner who was also trained by Baffert.
Baffert suggested Justify is one race ahead of Pharoah on the maturation cycle despite the fact he began his racing career so much later.
Justify is a massive horse, about 100 pounds heavier than Pharoah was for his Derby, and his athleticism is stunning for his size. Baffert compared him to LeBron James in that sense. With Pharoah, he always talked more about the stride than the body.
Jockey Mike Smith has also raved about Justify’s talent, saying he’s above average in every area and freakish in his acceleration. He compared the new Derby champ to Baffert’s 2001 Horse of the Year, Point Given, another powerfully built chestnut. But the consensus seems to be that Point Given was a touch clumsier.
Beyond Justify’s stunning athletic profile, he has an impressive team. Baffert has won the Preakness six times, but not only that, he has won here all four times he has had the Kentucky Derby champion. Jockey Mike Smith hasn’t won the Preakness since 1993, but the Hall of Famer has five Triple Crown victories and a bevy of other accomplishments on his always-growing resume.
Justify’s top challenger is expected to be Good Magic, who held off a charging Audible for second place at Churchill Downs two weeks ago. It’s going to take a near flawless ride to upset Justify, but if Good Magic can get it done, Chad Brown–whose horse Cloud Computing won here last year–would be the first trainer since Baffert in 2001 and ’02 to win back-to-back Preakness Stakes.
Other Derby runners who will be in Pimlico include Bravazo (finished sixth) and Lone Sailor (eighth), while Quip, Diamond King, Sporting Chance and Tenfold fill out the eight-horse field.
Up next after the Preakness is the Belmont Stakes on June 9. And, of course, the interest level in that race hinges on what Justify does Saturday night at Pimlico.
Source: Heavy Sports