The favorite Justify held off Good Magic to capture the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday evening before 157,813 in attendance at a muddy Churchill Downs in Louisville.
Justify had 5/2 odds to win the 1¼-mile race, beating Good Magic and Audible by 2½ lengths each to capture the first leg of the 2018 Triple Crown. The win for Justify pulled in $1.24 million of a guaranteed $2 million purse.
Over three inches of rain fell Saturday in what Mike Tirico called on the NBC broadcast “the wettest Kentucky Derby ever.”
Justify remains undefeated, now at 4-0, and is the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to capture the Run for the Roses despite not racing as a two-year-old.
This is the fifth Kentucky Derby win for trainer Bob Baffert and the second win for jockey Mike Smith, who called Justify “way above average” to NBC’s Bob Costas before the race.
Justify paid $7.80 to win, $6.00 to place and $4.40 to show.
Up next in the Triple Crown is two weeks from now with the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 19 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Four horses in the previous 10 years won the Preakness after winning the Kentucky Derby — Big Brown (2008), I’ll Have Another (2012), California Chrome (2014) and American Pharoah (2015) — with American Pharoah completing the hat trick three years ago.