Triple Crown Winner Justify Returns to Training


Photo: Coady Photography
Justify walks the shedrow June 14 at Churchill Downs

Undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify returned to training June 14 at Churchill Downs for the first time following his victory in the June 9 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).

Accompanied by trainer Bob Baffert's assistant, Jimmy Barnes, aboard stable pony Sunny, Justify jogged a mile with regular exercise rider Humberto Gomez in the saddle at 6:30 a.m. EDT.

"It's special getting him back to Churchill Downs," Barnes said. "We know there are a lot of his fans here, and it's exciting for all of us involved."

Justify will parade before the crowd at Churchill Downs from approximately 6:45-7:15 p.m. June 16. As he walks over with the horses for the third race, which has a 6:56 p.m. post time, Justify will parade in front of the clubhouse and grandstand. He'll then visit and circle the saddling paddock and remain there while the third race is run. After the third-race winner's circle presentation is complete, Justify will visit the winner's circle for a special ceremony for his connections—owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners; Baffert; jockey Mike Smith; and breeder John Gunther—to receive their engraved Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) trophies.

Justify will return to his home base at Santa Anita Park in Southern California June 17 and is scheduled to parade there June 23.

"He went back to the track today, jogged, and came out of it really well," Baffert said from Santa Anita. "(Barnes) said he was pretty happy, so we're going to take him back (to the track) tomorrow, go light with him, parade him Saturday at Churchill, and he'll be here at Santa Anita Sunday afternoon.

"We have no plans yet (for his next race). We'll just get him here and go from there."