Friday, June 22, 2018

The Justification for Justify

I've been thinking a lot lately about the big chestnut colt that somehow managed to pull off the second Triple Crown in 40 years after being the most lightly raced champion ever.  There just doesn't seem to be the hype with him that you'd expect, possibly because we've become a bit jaded having two TC winners in such a short time period?  If you really look at this colt and what he's achieved it's mind boggling......

* He's the second undefeated TC winner. He and Seattle Slew are in their own stratosphere;
* He's the mostly lightly raced TC winner ever. His first race was February 18th.  He won another race in California before the Santa Anita Derby, then on to the TC - 6 races in all;
* He raced against more horses in the Belmont than any other TC winner. They were coming after him until the bitter end but it did not matter;
* His Preakness race was two seconds faster than American Pharoah's and it had rained in Baltimore for five days.  AP ran in the mud too but not five days of mud;
* The 2018 crop of three-year-olds was a very strong crop. There were many quality colts this year, many different winners of the Grade 1 and 2 prep races coming into the Derby, one of the strongest fields in generations.  This was not an easy year for any horse to win a major race;
* Other than the Preakness, Justify has not looked tested.  There's a second and third gear there that perhaps we have not seen yet, and maybe never will.

I loved a quote I read from D. Wayne Lukas, the Hall-of-Fame trainer, right before the Belmont Stakes: "What if Justify hates the mud?"  Enough said!

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