Justify walks the shedrow on June 6 at Belmont Park - Eclipse Sportswire photo
Justify's Triple Crown quest in Saturday's Belmont S. (G1) will begin from the inside post position in the field of 10 3-year-olds going the 1 ½-mile “Test of Champions”.
“I never like to draw the rail, but I just feel that most importantly, the horse is doing well,” said Justify’s trainer Bob Baffert. “Last time I went through this, American Pharoah stepped back right when the gates opened and I got lucky he got away from there. You can have a great hole, but if you don’t leave there, you’re in trouble. We have it, we can’t change it, so we’ll just deal with.”
Baffert was referencing his 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, the son of Pioneerof the Nile who was the first winner of the three American classics in 37 years.
Justify has been stellar in his Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) wins, both which came over sloppy tracks. Baffert has been happy with the colt's two works since the Preakness and feels he is ready to achieve racing immortality.
“He's become a rock star like Pharoah,” Baffert said. “Let's see if he can do it.”
Justify will face nine foes on Saturday, including Noble Indy, the Louisiana Derby (G2) winner who is also owned by WinStar Farm, along with Repole Stable. Other contenders that figure to offer a stiff challenge include Preakness second and third-place finishers Bravazo and Tenfold and the highly-regarded Hofburg, who encountered trouble in his seventh-place Derby effort.
Justify is undefeated in five starts and has banked nearly $3 million for China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing.