Justify will race again after Triple Crown victory

Wednesday, 13 Jun, 2018

Abel Tasman won the $750,000 Ogden Phipps - with jockey Mike Smith, who also rode Justify to the big win - and then Hopportunity took the $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational. He even likened 52-year-old jockey, Mike Smith, to quarterback Eli Manning.

"He could have won every race on the undercard today, he's just that kind of horse".

Justify is set to return Monday to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor Justify will be taking to the sprawling oval to try to become racing's 13th Triple Crown victor and second in four years with a victory in the 1 1/2-mile race.

After a 37-year drought in which the feat seemed impossible to achieve again, Justify became the second horse in four years to do it, schooled - like his 2015 predecessor, American Pharoah - by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

"I couldn't be happier with the way he looks", Baffert said. For horses used to training and running at shorter distances it can be like asking them to start over doing something completely different.

Justify will travel June 17 to Baffert's base in southern California to await his next move.

The Triple Crown banner was unfurled at 9:30 a.m.in Belmont Park's clubhouse.

With the human Rob Gronkowski in attendance, the horse Gronkowski put together the most unexpected performance of the race. The inaugural victor was a New York-bred filly named Ruthless.

Last year, Baffert won four races with Mor Spirit (Metropolitan Handicap), Abel Tasman (Acorn), American Anthem (Woody Stephens) and West Coast (Easy Goer).

"As I say, I've got to give all the credit to my daughter who planned the mating of Justify, and my staff at Glennwood". It only takes one really good horse to beat you.

The season-ending Breeders' Cup world championships are in Louisville on November 2-3.

Baffert nicknamed his crew Camp Justify, and the bucolic corner barn setting fit the bill. "We were in the office watching the replay over and over".

"We've just got to keep working and working and working and just try to produce more graded stakes winners". Owners, fans and even rival trainers stopped by to sneak a peek at the undefeated victor of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Two weeks later, Justify weathered torrential rain and a blanket of fog to win the Preakness Stakes, setting himself up for the Triple Crown bid. Our horse came running. He was managed so well by Bob and his staff.

"But we ran into a buzzsaw, an incredible horse, a rare horse and that's the way it went". The last time there were two Triple Crown champions in the same decade was the 1970s, which produced Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed.

Baffert has been doing enough of that lately without him. "He's a brilliant, superior horse. People love history being made in sports". It wasn't the pair of Tenfold and Bravazo, who came so close to taking down the undefeated chestnut in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

"Opinions die", Baffert said.