Hello friends how are you all? Today we are going to talk about What Happened To Justify: How The Last Triple Crown Winner Is Enjoying Retirement? This year’s Triple Crown races highlight how difficult it is to win all three races in such a short amount of time. However, the racing public wants to see horses attempt to win all three races at the start of the year in the US, which led to Eric Reed having to justify his decision to bypass the Preakness Stakes just a few weeks after Rich Strike had won the Kentucky Derby.
Still, the paramount remains the well-being of the horses, which means that Reed’s decision wouldn’t have been taken lightly. But, the trainer’s decision to bypass the Preakness with the Derby winner meant that the wait for a Triple Crown winner has now stretched to four years. The last horse to achieve the defeat remains Justify.
What Happened To Justify: How The Last Triple Crown Winner Is Enjoying Retirement
Justify’s Memorable Season
Heading into the start of the 2018 season, very few outside of Bob Baffert’s yard would have been aware just how talented Justify was. He didn’t make his first start on track until the end of February, as he won by a staggering nine lengths on debut. The three-year-old was quickly stepped up in trip to a mile for his second start, which once again, he dominated and won by six lengths.
His place in the Kentucky Derby wasn’t officially assured until the Santa Anita Derby in April, but he quickly emerged as the favourite in the betting after winning the prestigious race by three lengths from Bold D’Oro. His biggest test would come at Churchill Downs, but he passed with flying colours, winning by over two lengths from Good Magic.
Justify then travelled to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes just two weeks later, and kept the dream alive for a Triple Crown winner, as he held on by half a length to win the Preakness Stakes. His crowning moment would come just under three weeks later at Belmont Park, where he once again showed his turn of foot to win the Belmont Stakes by a length and three-quarters from Gronkowski.
Retirement & Controversy
Justify made history a couple of months after winning the Belmont Stakes, as he became the first Triple Crown winner to retire without having suffered a defeat. He landed victories in all six career starts, and earned connections £3.798 million in prize money.
However, his retirement wasn’t all plain sailing, as Justify’s Santa Anita Derby run soon came under the microscope in 2019 after it was revealed by The New York Times that he had banned positive for a banned substance just days after his qualifying run into the Kentucky Derby.
The report also revealed how the California Horse Racing Board dismissed the case and didn’t even impose the required disqualification ban that would typically be the punishment for the failed test.
Baffert revealed that the original plan after the Belmont Stakes was to emulate the great American Pharoah and bid to win the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
However, injury in July curtailed those plans. Firstly he went to Del Mar to recover, in California. As you can see in the 2022 Del Mar race track schedule, this is one of the iconic tracks for racing in the US and there was no better place for Justify to recover form.
Unfortunately, his injury looked too serious to continue the competition and he was immediately retired. He would stand at Ashford Stud, which is the North American branch of the renowned Coolmore Stud. His initial stud fee was set at $150,000 for the 2019 season, but this was later decreased to $100,000 at the start of the 2022 breeding season.
We are still in the early stages of seeing the Justify off-spring in action, but it’s fair to say that they have already got racing fans excited. Two of them have already claimed victories on debut, including Tahoma, who is in training with Doug O’Neill.
The two-year-old broke her maiden with a two length victory at Santa Anita. Meanwhile, Aspen Grove, who is Irish-bred, won her maiden at the Curragh by a stunning four lengths and looks set to be pointed towards the G3 Albany at Royal Ascot.