The son of Scat Daddy will depart Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s barn in a few days, bound for co-owner WinStar Farm’s establishment near Versailles, Kentucky. But his future stud home has yet to be confirmed, with the widely rumored sale to global empire Coolmore still to be ironed out.
Team Justify offered the following comments to track publicity upon the occasion.
Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith:
“You know, it’s just a little bit sad. Now it’s real. He’s really going. Understand, I’m happy for him. He’s going to be happy where he’s going. I’m just glad I was part of all this. Special horse; special time. We’ll miss him.”
WinStar Farm owner Kenny Troutt:
“We’ve been so blessed with this horse. We’ve had some good horses and great horses but he is a special one. And it has been so much fun. My family loves it.”
WinStar President/CEO Elliott Walden:
“He’s flying back to Kentucky on Tuesday or Wednesday and we’ll be glad to have him back. Bob did a great job.”
“I’m sort of sad right now. It’s like when American Pharoah won the Breeders’ Cup (Classic [G1] in his swan song). The next day I was so sad…There was a lot of pressure, but the rewards are special. He came around so quickly and it was a fun ride. Somebody up there likes me; I feel really good about it. But it is emotional. I could cry right now.”
Although his too-brief career was cut short by filling in an ankle, Justify has carved out his place in history for his unprecedented classic sweep. No unraced juvenile had gone on to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) since Apollo (1882), and none had ever turned the double in the Preakness (G1), let alone score an elusive Triple Crown in the Belmont S. (G1).
In the process, Justify made history for Baffert, who three years earlier ended the Triple Crown drought with American Pharoah. Hence Baffert joined fellow Hall of Famer “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons as the only horsemen to condition two Triple Crown winners.
Justify compiled a perfect six-for-six record, and $3,798,000 in earnings, in the span of fewer than four months. His first three starts came at Santa Anita, where he romped in his February 18 debut, and in a March 11 allowance, before earning his Kentucky Derby ticket in the April 7 Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Bowing out as the presumptive champion three-year-old colt, Justify may reign as Horse of the Year, but that crown must await developments in other divisions.
Photos of the star’s Del Mar parade: