ARCADIA, Calif. (June 23, 2018)–Bob Baffert’s undefeated Triple Crown Champion Justify, who broke his maiden at Santa Anita on Feb. 18 and became racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner 111 days later by winning the Belmont Stakes on June 9, was simply magnificent in a public appearance following Saturday’s fourth race at The Great Race Place.
With an on-track crowd of 17,403 enjoying every moment, Justify went from Santa Anita’s saddling paddock to the Seabiscuit Walking Ring and then onto the racetrack following a video encapsulating all six of his wins, including the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 7.
Following a brief walk along the outer rail to the Club House turn, Justify then returned to the Winner’s Circle, where he was greeted by Baffert and his Hall of Fame jockey, “Big Money” Mike Smith.
At Baffert’s direction, Justify, a striking physical specimen by Scat Daddy out of the Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, was led out of the Winner’s Circle and up Santa Anita’s homestretch for a return to Baffert’s Barn 5.
“We’re just enjoying all of this right now and we’re giving Justify the time he’s earned after his campaign,” said Baffert when asked where Justify might run next. “We’ll make a decision on that after we breeze him.”
Owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners, Justify’s next start is open to speculation. Heading the list of potential stops on the Justify Tour are the Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga, the Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth, the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar, any one of which could lead to a start in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.
As for Baffert and Smith, they’ll again be center stage this Monday at Dodger Stadium, as they each throw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the Blue Crew facing off with the Chicago Cubs in an ESPN nationally televised game set for a 7:05 p.m. start.