Justify wins Preakness on muddy Pimlico Race Course in Maryland

BALTIMORE, Maryland (AP) -- Justify emerged from the fog and sloshed his way to another victory, holding off several hard-charging challengers to win the Preakness on Saturday and keep alive the chance for trainer Bob Baffert's second Triple Crown champion in four years.

On a sloppy track similar to the conditions in the Kentucky Derby, Justify improved to 5-0 and will go to the Belmont Stakes on June 9 looking to do the same thing American Pharoah did for Baffert in 2015. Justify showed no ill effects from a bruised heel on his left hind foot that was discovered in the aftermath of the Derby, an injury Baffert insisted would not be a problem.

Justify is undefeated in five career starts, and has won three running on wet tracks.

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In what might be a good omen for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith, the tandem entered the winner's circle at Pimlico today, one race before the Preakness.

Baffert is the trainer of Ax Man, who won the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes with Smith aboard.

Ax Man easily bested Title Ready by 6 3/4 lengths on a foggy, wet day in Baltimore.

After the race, Baffert was poised to saddle Justify for Smith in the Preakness.

Baffert, Smith and Justify teamed to win the Kentucky Derby and are favored to capture the Preakness in pursuit of the Triple Crown.