Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Justify defies the odds to win Triple Crown

Justify defies the odds to win Triple Crown

B-John D. Gunther (KY).

Justify led all the way in New York's Belmont Stakes winning by 1 3/4 lengths to gain immortality as horse racings 13th Triple Crown victor.

The China Horse Club not only part own Justify but had the honour of him completing the Triple Crown racing in their now famous colours, which are increasingly seen around tracks in New Zealand. "Everybody was in tears, including myself".

Things like that happen to all horses, and even those with a foundation find it hard to overcome. "We thought he was that kind of horse but they have to prove it". Tanya Gunther was responsible for choosing the chestnut colt's parents. "We've been able to brand something very special in what we've accomplished".

Justify was also the fifth horse trained by Baffert to win the first two races of the Triple Crown, and those five Triple Crown attempts represent three more than any other trainer.

An impressive feat for Baffert, racing's affable, most marketable two-legged star, for sure.

His days now are spent staying in shape with a rigorous workout schedule that keeps him in top condition to use his vast experience in handling the best horses in the business.

"He's so brilliant. Did you see him in the gate, he's standing so still", Smith said.

"To become just the 13th victor of the Triple Crown is incredible and even more special is the fact that he is only the second Triple Crown victor to be bought at public auction after Seattle Slew in 1977".

"This horse ran a tremendous race".

Justify greets the media
Justify greets the media

Justify's pedigree features plenty of Canadian content.

Chris Mara has won two Super Bowl championships with the Giants and now he is a Triple Crown champion, too. Stage Magic's genealogy features Canadian Hall of Famer Awesome Again - the 1997 Queen's Plate and 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic champion - and Canadian-breds Deputy Minister, Vice Regent and Mint Copy.

Coolmore will reportedly breed Justify primarily in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, where he could breed at least 250 times in his first year. Justify was purchased as a yearling for $500,000. He earned US$800,000 for winning the Belmont, boosting his career winnings total to nearly US$3.8 million. He's certainly the greatest of the 21st century and in the running for G.O.A.T status, given his two transcendent Triple Crown horses. But it's a challenge the farm welcomes. "He's just got this "it" factor".

Justify had to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

"It'll be a Triple Crown victor that'll be remembered for ever", said Gunther "It's just unreal".

"It's such an wonderful horse", said Gunther from Elmont.

"He listens to you - to everything I do", Smith said. I believe that given the circumstances, Justify's Triple Crown sweep is the greatest yet. But Gunther opted to follow his gut with this decision, which came long before Justify's emergence as a champion racehorse. I love horses that are fresh for this race, and Rosso finished ninth in the Derby after recovering from a rough and messy start. "He could have won every race on the undercard today".

"He was calm", said Gunther. "She really puts everything into her foals". Possible objectives are the Haskell on July 29 at Monmouth Park and/or the August 25 Travers at Saratoga. Why can't one of these thoroughbreds just win three athletic competitions in a row?

"No more pressure", Gunther said.

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