Justify, the impressive Bob Baffert trained colt, remains undefeated AND beat Apollo’s curse. He is the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby in 135 years without having raced as a 2-year old. The big chestnut colt delivered a definitive win 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Good Magic. Particularly noticeable is how clean Justify’s face is, given the sloppy track. Jockey Mike Smith got him out of the starting gate quickly with a sharp tap, tucking him in beside Promises Fulfilled. Some horses don’t like to get hit with dirt and this tactic sure worked.
Justify is the first undefeated Kentucky Derby winner since Nyquist in 2015 and only the ninth since 1915. He has now won all four of his starts, earning $2,098,000.
Heavy rain made this Kentucky Derby a difficult run. 3.15″ of rain fell, making this the wettest Kentucky Derby on record. This much water certainly changed the race conditions substantially, but didn’t seem to bother Justify, who looked like he was running easily.
Several horses experienced the typical Derby bumps, including Mendelssohn, who was bumped hard coming out of the starting gate and then again going into the first turn. Jockey Ryan Moore said, “The race was over (for him) then. The track condition did not bother him. He had a rough trip early on.” Mendelssohn finished last.
Now it’s two weeks to the Preakness. Do we have a possible Triple Crown contender? Only time will tell.