CRAWFORD | Ankle issue puts Justify's racing future on hold
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The future racing plans of Triple Crown winner Justify have been put on hold after trainer Bob Baffert pulled him from training last week because of swelling in his ankle.
The unbeaten colt's future had been the matter of intense speculation in the horse racing world, after Baffert and WinStar Farm president Elliott Walden seemed to indicate that he would continue to race into the fall if he continued to look good and had no issue.
Others doubted he ever would run again, given his value as a stallion.
In late May, Walden called reports that Justify’s breeding rights had been sold to Coolmore “premature.” No subsequent announcement has been forthcoming.
Developments with Justify’s ankle won’t impact that, but his breeding prospects very much are a factor in whether he races again.
Baffert had been proceeding full speed with Justify’s training until holding him out late last week.
“Justify had some filling in his left front ankle a week ago, which subsided in a couple days,” Baffert said. “I trained him last week and the filling came back. We want to get him checked out.”
The decision likely removes any possibility of Justify appearing in the Haskell at Monmouth Park on July 29. That would mean he could run in the Travers on August 25 at Saratoga, or take on older horses in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 18. Both of those assume a return to racing.
“To go from a maiden winner in February to an undefeated Triple Crown winner in June has been an incredible ride,” Walden said. “He is too special to the owners, our team, and all the fans he has around the world to not be 100% healthy. As far as any future plans for him, they will be decided after we get him checked out. He is an amazing horse, and we are blessed by his presence.”
Justify did overcome some minor foot issues after winning the Kentucky Derby on a wet track, but having become the 13th Triple Crown winner, his owners likely will be even more cautious.
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