Undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify has been retired from racing due to a troublesome ankle, ending a historic career on the trail.
“Justify had a meeting in his ankle, and he’s simply not reacting quickly enough for a fall campaign,” said trainer Bob Baffert. “We all needed to see Justify encounter again, but ultimately it is my responsibility to be sure he is ideal. Without 60-90 days, I can not be definite.”
Justify gathered in his first start at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 18 and never looked back, winning his next five races in spectacular fashion. He won the Kentucky Derby by 2-1/2 lengths on May 5, becoming the first horse as Apollo in 1882 to acquire the Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old.
Justify proceeded to capture The Preakness Stakes beneath the foggiest of conditions with constant pressure from the field. Subsequently, Justify went on to acquire The Belmont Stakes in wire-to-wire style, winning by 1-3/4 lengths to become the first undefeated Triple Crown winner since Seattle Slew in 1977.
Jockey Mike Smith was aboard the Triple Crown victories and he knew he had been riding a unique colt.
“Like everyone else. I am disappointed he will not run again, but I am grateful that he came to my life,” Smith stated. There wasn’t a time when I rode him that I felt as though I was going to get beat. There was no horse who could run with him sacrificing themselves, and there was no horse who might come . He actually is a gift from God.”
Justify’s six successes resulted in him getting $3,798,000 in a brief 3-1/2 month span. He became the 13th Triple Crown winner and the next horse to do so in four years. He captivated the hearts of his or her accomplishments will probably be one for the history books.
However, the conspiracy theories continue with this celebrity, initially that Baffert was accused of having one of the other horses obstruct Justify’s closest rivals in the Belmont therefore he can fasten the Triple Crown.
Justify’s latest injury was deemed a jealous farce by the haters so his ownership could retire the champ quickly before he is defeated and whisk him off to burst to obtain the big bucks. Justify was compared to a poor imitation of Secretariat — a floundering horse who just happen to peak at the right time and did not really conquer anybody particular. This horse never appeared to get the respect and respect he fully deserved.
We must realize we can’t compare superstar horses of 40 years ago to the racing creatures. It was just a different time.
Horses of yesteryear ran more often and trained more distances. They had been wider, more muscular and’d sturdier legs. They weren’t all on Lasix and other medications and they were conditioned. If you can’t find this difference in comparison of our horses today, you are either too young or marginally blind.
Justify handled every obstacle thrown at him and responded with class, dignity and a success in each race. You can hate him if you need and get on board with all the conspiracy theories but the fact remains he won the Triple Crown and also did things no other horse could attain.
Justify was likely to be pointed towards a significant race this summer, quite possibly the Travers Stakes at Saratoga or The Pacific Classic at Del Mar, with the ultimate aim being the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.
Justify will return to WinStar Farm first next month and there is a potential deal in place for Coolmore Stud to obtain the colt and his breeding rights. But before that, he’ll be paraded before the fans at Del Mar on July 28.
I do have a soft spot in my heart for this bonified winner. Justify was my pick in The Kentucky Derby and my very first Derby winner in print. I selected him to triumph The Triple Crown and he did.
Placing my heart aside for an instant, I believe we must appreciate what this horse has done and ignore what he hasn’t done, as well as the comparisons to historical super horses.
Justify could not have done more for Thoroughbred racing in the usa or dashed any better in this short span. Let’s give credit where credit is due and give Justify all of the love. I, for one, wish him well in his future endeavors and appreciate his outstanding achievements.