- JUSTIFY TAKES A BOW AT SANTA ANITA SATURDAY
- 12 NOON POST SATURDAY, SMITH TO SIGN POSTERS
- NTRA IS SEEKING FANS’ PHOTOGRAPHS OF JUSTIFY
- JUSTIFY RETURN TO SANTA ANITA BIG NEWS ON XBTV
- SADLER TESTS GRADED WATERS IN THE SAN CARLOS
- QUICK PACE WOULD AID BEAU RECALL IN WILSHIRE
BAFFERT, BARNES AND NOBLE JUSTIFY ON HAND SATURDAY
Appropriately, Bob Baffert was center stage during Justify’s Triple Crown sweep this spring, but on call in the wings, there was Jim Barnes, appropriately playing Jimmy Olsen to Baffert’s Clark Kent.
Justify handled the role of Superman just fine, thank you, giving Team Baffert its second Triple Crown triumph in four years, on the fleet heels of American Pharoah in 2015, with one difference: perfection.
Justify was only the second horse to do it while unbeaten, joining Seattle Slew in 1977.
As fans at Santa Anita await the opportunity to see Justify in person Saturday when the big red colt will be on display between the fourth and fifth races, Baffert and his top sidekick will otherwise be keeping him at the ready for his next gig, wherever and whenever it may be.
Meantime, Baffert and Barnes are taking a welcome pause from the media mayhem to savor in earnest Justify’s momentous achievement while still taking care of business at their home base of Santa Anita.
“These two Triple Crown sweeps were pretty special,” said the 58-year-old Barnes, who has been with Baffert going on two decades now. “It’s an amazing feat to accomplish. Not many people thought it was going to happen again, and then we come up and win it within a three-year span.”
Barnes was not about to lobby on behalf of American Pharoah or Justify as to which is the better horse, opting for a more propitious moment, perhaps when Justify joins American Pharoah in retirement at stud.
“But as far as what makes them a good horse,” Barnes said, “three things are required: a good mind, a good set of lungs and a huge stride. The way those two horses covered the ground was amazing.
“You could spot them at any moment on the race track just by the way they were galloping. You’d know, ‘There they are.’ When they worked, you’d just go ‘whoa!’ and then look at your watch.”
Baffert is on record as saying Barnes loves what he does, won’t take time off even when mandated, and “lived with American Pharoah” during his Triple Crown pursuit.
Baffert recently said that if there was a Hall of Fame for assistants, Jim Barnes would be the first one in it.
“That was very kind of him,” Barnes said. “I really appreciate that. I’ve accomplished a lot and we’ve won a lot of big races in the 19 years I’ve worked with Bob.
“We do everything so well, but still, Triple Crowns are hard to win. Yet each and every year Bob seems to come up with stock that’s very competitive, and it’s a pleasure to train horses like that.
“They give you confidence. We went into the Triple Crown races with a bounce in our step. I was really confident with Justify before the Kentucky Derby, even though he’d only been running in five and six-horse fields.
“Here he is in a 20-horse field with more rain than they’ve ever had, and you’re going to pull this off and win it in only your fourth start?
“And then you’re going to go to Baltimore where it rains even harder and win the Preakness, with a fog so thick you can’t even see the race?
“I’m watching fractions and saying, ‘He’s moving right along, I know he’s up front.’ I was in the infield, and then here come his white silks through the fog. There were horses closing but he just did what he needed to do to win it.
“Finally, we get to go to New York and people are asking me, ‘What if it doesn’t rain?’ I said, ‘Wait till you see this horse on a dry track.'”
And that’s exactly what Justify’s fans will see on Saturday.
SANTA ANITA TO GIVE AWAY JUSTIFY TRIPLE CROWN POSTERS SATURDAY
Beautiful Triple Crown posters of Justify will be given away free with paid admission to the first 4,000 attendees at Santa Anita this Saturday. In addition, Justify’s regular rider, Hall of Fame member Mike Smith, will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to sign the posters adjacent to the Kingsbury Fountain, in the West Paddock Gardens area.
Justify, who will parade through Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens and onto the main track and Winner’s Circle between races four and five Saturday, will be accompanied in the Winner’s Circle by both Baffert and Smith, who will be available to credentialed media. The collector’s item poster depicts the magnificent chestnut son of Scat Daddy winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Approximate post time for Saturday’s fourth race is 1:40 p.m. Pacific Time.
In order to accommodate Justify’s appearance Saturday, there will be an early first post time of 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. for a 12-race program.
PUBLIC ASKED TO SUBMIT PICTURES WITH JUSTIFY
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is asking fans and horsemen to submit their personal photos with Triple Crown winner Justify for inclusion in a video montage to be shown during the 48th Annual Eclipse Awards ceremony next January.
Submissions can be made on Twitter by using the hashtag #JustifyandI or by tagging @NTRA or posting an image to the wall of the official NTRA page (Facebook.com/1NTRA).
The Eclipse Awards will be held Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
JUSTIFY’S RETURN SUNDAY WAS BIG NEWS ON XBTV
XBTV’s coverage of Justify’s return home to Santa Anita last Sunday afternoon, which was streamed live on Facebook, accumulated more than 50,000 views and reached more than 127,000 people.
Justify’s return completed eight weeks of XBTV’s Triple Crown Xpress coverage during which it received more than 10 million impressions from 2,000-plus videos produced.
XBTV’s Triple Crown coverage provided it with a top ranking as one of the most engaged social media platforms in the industry.
SADLER HOPES TO ‘CLAIM’ GRADED STATUS IN SAN CARLOS
Fresh off the claim, John Sadler sends out Horse Greedy and St. Joe Bay in Saturday’s Grade II, $250,000 San Carlos Stakes for three-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.
Horse Greedy, a five-year-old son of Horse Greeley, was haltered for $40,000 on May 19, while St. Joe Bay was taken for $62,500 on May 28, each for Sadler’s principal clients, Kosta and Peter Hronis.
“They’re two pretty nice horses,” Sadler said. “St. Joe Bay was a stakes winner here in the past (taking the Grade II Palos Verdes in 2017 and the Grade III Midnight Lute in 2016), and Horse Greedy came out of a very fast race (a third to Catalina Cruiser May 19, in which the winner covered six furlongs in 1:08.60).
“I think we have two shots on Saturday.”
The field for the San Carlos, race 11 of 12: Top of the Game, Israel Ocampo, 15-1; St. Joe Bay, Tyler Baze, 12-1; El Huerfano, Geovanni Franco, 15-1; American Anthem, Mike Smith, 9-5; Horse Greedy, Stewart Elliott, 15-1; Touching Rainbows, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Stone Hands, Mario Gutierrez, 4-1; and Dabster, Martin Garcia, 4-1.
BEAU RECALL RETURNS TO MILE IN WILSHIRE STAKES
Beau Recall shortens up to one mile in Sunday’s Grade III Wilshire Stakes on turf after closing well to be fourth by two lengths in the Grade I Gamely at 1 1/8 miles on turf May 26.
“She came out of the Gamely in good order and we’re really happy with her,” trainer Simon Callaghan said of the four-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Sir Prancealot. “We definitely would like some pace to run at, and it looks like we’ll get it.”
Beau Recall has two wins and two seconds at a mile on grass, rallying from ninth and last to capture the Grade II Royal Heroine at that distance on April 7. In 13 starts, she has three wins and four seconds, with earnings of $374,877.
FINISH LINES: With four racing days left, Flavien Prat and Doug O’Neill appear to have safe leads for the jockey and trainer titles, Prat ahead of Geovanni Franco, 35-26, and O’Neill in front of Phil D’Amato, 29-25.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, June 17)|
|Jockey||Mts||1st||2nd||3rd||Win%||In $ pct.||Money Won|
|Drayden Van Dyke||112||18||19||16||16%||47%||$1,106,495|
|Trainer||Starts||1st||2nd||3rd||Win%||In $ pct.||Money Won|