By Josh Caudill
In just six races within 112 days , Justify went from an unknown to an immortal Triple Crown winner, taking the world by storm and now, he’s being retired to stud.
Trainer Bob Baffert ruled him out of action for August due to swelling in his ankle but had hopes that he would race again at the Breeders’ Cup to continue his streak and match American Pharoah as the only other horse to win the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing.
However, it wasn’t meant to be. WinStar Farm announced on Wednesday that the 3-year old son of Scat Daddy would retire and come back to the farm in August before his breeding career starts.
It’s a sign of the times as the breeding rights of Justify were reportedly sold to Coolmore Farms for $75 million. After all, it’s a business and with the risk of injury was too much of a concern for Justify’s owners.
“The timing is bad for another start in 2018, and therefore, we have to retire him,” said WinStar Farm President Elliot Walden said. “Like American Pharoah, we can’t take the risk of running Justify as a 4-year-old. We all wanted him to finish his career in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but it was not meant to be. As has been reported, there is a possible sale to Coolmore in place, but that won’t be finalized until a later date. We are excited to share him with our fans starting the middle of August after he gets acclimated.”
Justify broke the 136-year old “Curse of Apollo” when he won the Kentucky Derby despite record rainfall at Churchill Downs. He won a tightly contested race at the Preakness Stakes and then went wire-to-wire at the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner in history and giving 52-year old jockey Mike Smith his first Triple Crown as well.
His retirement makes him the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history. Seattle Slew was undefeated when he won the Triple Crown in 1977 but kept racing and suffered losses.
But do not fret, good news was also announced for horse racing fans and passionate Justify enthusiasts. Breyer announced that Justify will be joining the brand’s stable of champions with his very own horse racing collectible.
Breyer will release the chestnut colt’s model in a variety of sizes as well as a holiday ornament this November, just in time for the Christian shopping season.
“This has just been such a roller-coaster ride with this amazing horse,” WinStar Farms Marketing Coordinator Bethany Wurl said. “We are so blessed to have this horse and share him with all of the fans.”
Justify will parade at Del Mar’s track on Saturday, July 28 before coming back to WinStar Farm where fans will be able to tour the farm and visit him starting in mid-August.