BALTIMORE – Maybe it wasn't like the Kentucky Derby, but it was enough.
War Emblem, who went wire to wire to win the Derby two weeks ago, won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday in a slow 1:56.36.
That sets up a shot at horse racing's Triple Crown. War Emblem will race in the crown's third jewel, the Belmont Stakes, on June 8.
The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978. Since then, eight horses have tried for the Crown and failed.
Today, the 5-2 favorite War Emblem held off a late challenge by 45-1 shot Magic Weisner by three-quarters of a length to win.
"It's a shame we ran out of racetrack," Magic Weisner's jockey Richard Migliore said. "He was getting to him really quick."
Proud Citizen came in third, with Harlan's Holiday, Easyfromthegitgo, U S S Tinosa, Crimson Hero, Medaglia d'Oro, Straight Gin, Menacing Dennis, Table Limit, Booklet and Equality rounding out the field.
Menacing Dennis held an early lead until the final turn, when War Emblem and jockey Victor Espinoza moved into the lead by two lengths and rode the advantage to the win.
War Emblem sets up trainer Bob Baffert for a third shot at a triple crown in six years. Baffert's Silver Charm in 1997 and Real Quiet in 1998 won both the Derby and Preakness but lost in the Belmont.
"The experience helps, we've gone through this," Baffert said. "The main thing is to keep him healthy and to keep Victor healthy. He's figured out this horse."
Most surprising about Baffert's success is that he didn't step in to train War Emblem until three weeks before the Derby, when Saudi Prince Ahmed bin Salman bought the horse.
So far, 11 horses have been Triple Crown winners.
Baffert said he thought War Emblem could bring him the crown that Silver Charm and Real Quiet could not.
"It's just amazing, he gets better and better," Baffert said. "He ... can do anything."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.