Sunday, July 22, 2018

Watchmaker: How will history judge Justify if he's done racing?

Mike Watchmaker

If what most folks anticipate does indeed come to pass and Justify retires to stud without having raced again after his sweep of the Triple Crown, many will hold him up as an example of what’s wrong with the sport today. I understand the complaint. In a career that would have spanned only six starts over a four-month period from Feb. 18 to June 9, Justify would be an extreme example of an equine star leaving the game far too soon. But I understand the other side of the debate, too. What sense does it make to risk Justify in any way when he is worth somewhere in the vicinity of $60 million as a sire? Who among us would turn their backs on that kind of money if we were in the position of making that call?...For me, if we have seen the last of Justify in competition, the more interesting topic of discussion concerns his place in racing history. He already has carved out a pretty significant one for himself. That’s automatic when you have managed to accomplish what only 12 other horses have been able to do and sweep the Triple Crown. But there is more, even if his career was so brief. Justify, of course, was the first horse in 136 years to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old. He became only the second undefeated Triple Crown winner but was the first Triple Crown winner not to have raced as a 2-year-old. I suspect Justify’s place in racing history will be determined in no small part by how he ranks against his fellow Triple Crown winners. And my sense is Justify has an uphill battle in that regard if he has indeed run his last race, primarily because he has run his last race. Consider what these Triple Crown winners did after their Triple Crown sweeps...MORE

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