Justify (horse)

Justify and his connections after the 2018 Preakness Stakes
SireScat Daddy
DamStage Magic
FoaledMarch 28, 2015
CountryUnited States
BreederJohn D. Gunther
OwnerWinStar Farm (Majority Owner), China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing
TrainerBob Baffert
Record6: 6-0-0
Major wins
Santa Anita Derby (2018)

Triple Crown wins:
Kentucky Derby (2018)
Preakness Stakes (2018)
Belmont Stakes (2018)

13th American Triple Crown winner (2018)
American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse (2018)
American Horse of the Year (2018)

Justify (foaled March 28, 2015) is a retired American Thoroughbred racehorse who is the thirteenth and most recent winner of the American Triple Crown, accomplishing the feat by winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes in 2018.

He first attracted attention with a win in his first start on February 18, 2018, followed by two more victories, including the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, to qualify for the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Justify then won that race, the 2018 Preakness Stakes, and the 2018 Belmont Stakes to win the Triple Crown. He was retired undefeated several weeks after the Belmont.

Justify is only the second horse to win the American Triple Crown with an undefeated record, following Seattle Slew. Justify is descended from Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Count Fleet, War Admiral, Omaha, and Gallant Fox, all of whom also won the American Triple Crown. He is also a descendant of English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky. Of the 13 American Triple Crown winners, Justify is the first who did not race as a two-year-old.


Justify is a chestnut colt with a large white blaze on his forehead.[2] He was bred in Kentucky by Canadian[3] John D. Gunther, who runs Glennwood Farm with his daughter Tanya. Although the Gunthers have a small breeding operation, their 2015 foals also included Without Parole, a Group I winner at Royal Ascot, Vino Rosso, a graded stakes winner who raced against Justify in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, and Grade I winner Competitionofideas. For this accomplishment, Gunther earned the 2018 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder.[4] Gunther also bred Justify's dam, Stage Magic, a stakes-placed daughter of Ghostzapper.[5][6]

Justify was part of the second-last crop of Scat Daddy, who won the Champagne Stakes and Florida Derby. Although Scat Daddy ran in America on the dirt, as a stallion he first made his reputation in Europe as a turf sire, with Group 1 winners including Lady Aurelia and Caravaggio[7] His stud fee when he was bred to Stage Magic in 2014 was only $35,000, though it was scheduled to increase to $100,000 in 2016. Scat Daddy died prematurely at the age of eleven in December 2015.[8]

Justify was sold at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sales for $500,000 to a recently formed partnership between WinStar Farm (60% ownership), China Horse Club (25%) and SF Racing (15%), the latter run by employees of George Soros's investment firm.[9] David Hanley, general manager of WinStar, said that Justify stood out at the sales. "He was a beautiful yearling – had great balance and leg, great shoulder, and lovely length and neck, and power," he said. "For a big horse, he was very light on his feet, with good action and good energy."[10] In early March 2018, SF Racing sold a share to Starlight Racing,[11] then Sol Kumin's Head of Plains partners also bought a share in late March.[12]

Justify grew into a large horse, standing 16.3 hands (67 inches, 170 cm) at the withers and weighing 1,380 pounds (630 kg).[13] He was initially sent to trainer Rodolphe Brisset at Keeneland but pulled a muscle and was given time to recover and grow into his frame. In January 2018, he was sent to Santa Anita to be trained by Bob Baffert.[14]

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