Horse racing fans around the world are talking about superstar Justify. The exceptional race horse earned the 13th Triple Crown in history earlier this month after winning the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
What’s next for Justify?
Following his Belmont victory, Justify quickly returned to Kentucky to continue training. A crowd of eager Churchill Downs visitors will celebrate Justify June 16 in a special ceremony. He will then travel to Santa Anita Park for another parade and more training later this month. Update (7/11/2018): Reports of a minor injury to his left front ankle surfaced earlier this week. Justify’s training is currently on hold. He will not run in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 29. It is unclear if he will race again.
Breeders’ Cup 2018
Justify is predicted to run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 3, 2018. Tickets to the Breeders’ Cup are available. The international horse racing championship will draw thousands to Kentucky. A Breeders’ Cup Festival will accompany the contentious races as well as other horse-related events like Equestricon, a convention for race fans. There, fans will be able to view trophies from Justify’s Triple Crown races. They can also meet members of the WinStar farm team along with jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert.
If you’re visiting Louisville for Breeders’ Cup, one of the top things to do will be to take a Mint Julep tour! Special tours Breeders’ Cup Week will visit bourbon distilleries and horse farms around Kentucky. Tickets are available online now.
Majority owners WinStar call Kentucky home. Their farm is located in Versailles, Kentucky, about an hour from Louisville. Horse farm tours are available of the picturesque facility. Visitors will see a selection of stallions from their all-star roster on the tour and get a glimpse of the every day life of a retired race horse. You’ll even go into the breeding shed, where more than 2700 mares are bred each year. To visit WinStar Farm, talk to your Mint Julep experience coordinator to schedule a tour. Horse farm tours are a great addition to any custom tour itinerary.
It is unlikely Justify will be part of the tour, for now, but look for him to potentially spend his stud career at WinStar after his racing days are over. Current stallions at WinStar Farm include Pioneerof the Nile, Distorted Humor, and Tiznow. Pioneerof the Nile was the sire to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and a long list of other top earning race horses.
Foaled March 28, 2015, Justify was bred in Kentucky from sire Scat Daddy and dam Stage Magic. His pedigree includes several other Triple Crown winners including Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Count Fleet, and War Admiral.
He was sold at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sales for $500,000 to a group of owners including partners from WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing.
Justify’s first race was only a few months ago! He ran his maiden race at Santa Anita Park in February 2018 and won impressively. He ran again less than a month later, again at Santa Anita, and won by 6.5 lengths. Despite never running a stakes race, this head-turning win put him among the leading names on the list for the Kentucky Derby. He earned his way to the Derby by winning the Santa Anita Derby in April 2018.
Now the Kentucky Derby favorite, Justify was one of many major prep winners with serious consideration to win. Although Justify was still relatively new to horse racing, trainer Bob Baffert knew the horse’s natural ability would shine through. He was right, and on a very rainy Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, Justify won by 2.5 lengths. He ran a sloppy track again in his Preakness Stakes win at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland but only won by half a length. The undefeated race horse finally got to run on a fast track in the Belmont Stakes on June 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York and won again, earning him the Triple Crown!
Triple Crown Winners
Justify is the thirteenth Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing winner. And he is only the second horse to do so undefeated. Amazingly, he is the first Triple Crown winner to never race as a two-year-old. This win also made Bob Baffert, who also trained American Pharoah, only the second trainer to win the Triple Crown twice.
Justify’s Triple Crown win came just three years after American Pharoah took home the trophy. Before then, there was a 37-year gap between Triple Crown horses and many believed it may never happen again! Justify will try to take the same further acclaim as American Pharoah at the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November 2018. By winning that race in addition to the Derby, Belmont and Preakness, a horse earns the “Grand Slam” title.
American Pharoah Update
About the Author – Rachel Goldenberg
Rachel Goldenberg has been Director of Marketing at Mint Julep since 2017. Her extensive bourbon education includes becoming an Executive Bourbon Steward through the Stave & Thief Society and graduating from Woodford Reserve’s Bourbon Academy. She is a Certified Tourism Ambassador and enthusiastic advocate for her adopted hometown of Louisville. When she’s not promoting Mint Julep’s portfolio of southern experiences, she can be found walking her dog or enjoying a drink on a Germantown patio.