Preakness favorite Justify galloped over the track at Pimlico Race Course for the first time Thursday morning, appearing comfortable despite the mud from a relentless overnight rain.
Trainer Bob Baffert said he kept the workout light because of the conditions, though the rain abated briefly as Justify walked from the Preakness barn to the track.
"I’m just happy with the way he went around there," he said. "He was just getting warmed up. He’s ready to do a lot more, but we just didn’t want him to do too much."
Baffert continued to downplay the forecast, which calls for rain almost every hour until post time Saturday evening.
“This track can probably take more water than any track I’ve ever seen,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “If it just gets a little wind or something, you’ll be surprised how quickly it dries out.”
He recalled the deluge that swamped Pimlico just before American Pharoah walked onto the track for the 2015 Preakness.
“I’d hate to see something like that, because that’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” he said. “But I don’t really worry about it.”
He joked that his 13-year-old son, Bode, was the only one who correctly forecast the driving rain that soaked the Kentucky Derby. The bad news is that his amateur meteorologist has called for similar conditions in Baltimore.
“He follows the Doppler,” Baffert said. “He told me yesterday it’s going to be raining.”
Meteorology aside, he said Justify will go out for a similar session Friday morning.
"Right now, I feel confident he's going to show up," Baffert said. "He's doing really well."