Justify, the colt who had done nothing but get people’s hopes up, finally proved his mettle Saturday in an easy win over Bolt d’Oro in the Santa Anita Derby.
Justify led from wire to wire in easy fractions, with Bolt d’Oro and jockey Javier Castellano apparently letting him widen his lead to almost three lengths on the backstretch. When Bolt finally made his move entering the homestretch, it was too much ground to cover and too little effort, as he fell by the wayside. Justify ran his margin back up to three lengths at the finish.
Despite the slow fractions, Justify put up a 107 Beyer figure, besting all colts scrambling for the Derby. He is for real, and like the Santa Anita Derby, should be the betting favorite at Churchill Downs.
Bolt, meanwhile, put up his usual numbers but couldn’t get close to Justify. That has to worry his handlers, even though they said they were pleased with his performance.