Connections of the undefeated Justify today announced the colt’s retirement from racing after an unanticipated tour de force of a career culminating in six victories in six starts and a Triple Crown.
WinStar Farm, member of the owner partnership that also includes China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC and Starlight Racing, released the news today that Triple Crown champion Justify has officially retired from racing. While fans hoped for a late summer/fall campaign including the Breeders’ Cup Classic, slight but persistent swelling in the colt’s ankle forced his connections’ hand.
“He is just not responding quick enough for a fall campaign,” stated trainer Bob Baffert. “We all wanted to see Justify run again, but ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure he is perfect. Without 60-90 days, I can’t be definite.”
Justify took the racing world by storm this spring, having never raced before February of this year. Following up his two commanding allowance wins with a romp in the Santa Anita Derby, Justify set his sights on what seemed nearly impossible: becoming the first unraced juvenile to win the Kentucky Derby since 1882. Breaking the so-called “Curse of Apollo,” Justify only got better from there.
Every inch an athlete, the imposing Justify next contended a Preakness so shrouded in fog it looked like the stuff of dreams. While the field nearly vanished on the turn for home, firing into the backstretch was the bright blaze of Justify, just holding off last-minute dives from his opponents to keep the Triple Crown hope alive. In the Belmont Stakes, Justify simply reigned, leading wire to wire and earning his place in history.
Sadly, sometimes the brightest flames seem to burn too fast, and Triple Crown winners are in short supply. Due to Justify’s value as a breeding animal and the uncertain future of returning to the track after injury, his connections made the call to retire. Justify will retire with six wins in six starts, four Grade I victories and total career earnings of $3,798,000, all amassed in the span of just four months.
Justify will parade at Del Mar on Saturday, July 28 and then travel to WinStar, where he will be shown to the public starting in August after he has adjusted to retired life. A possible sale to Coolmore to stand at stud, originally believed to be a rumor, will likely be finalized in the future.