A few weeks ago, horse racing enthusiasts were discussing Justify’s next move – the Haskell, Travers, Pennsylvania Derby.
All that went out the window with trainer Bob Baffert’s admission that Justify had some swelling in his left front ankle. They were going to take it day by day, but with each day, the hopes that the Triple Crown winner will make a comeback are becoming slimmer.
Yesterday, Justify’s part-owner Jack Wolf said he would be surprised if the Triple Crown winner runs again.
We don’t know how serious Justify’s injury is; perhaps some rest is all that he needs, with a tune-up race before the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But given the syndication possibilities and his breeding future, his owners are going to be more cautious than usual when determining the colt’s future.
That’s a shame, since there will probably be an asterisk by the colt’s name when mentioning the greatest horses of all time. Justify was always full of potential, and he proved it with his Triple Crown victory. But other horses have gone on to do other things; Seattle Slew and Affirmed found success as 4-year-olds; American Pharoah captured the Grand Slam by taking the Breeder’s Cup Classic.
If he retires, Justify’s career will be meteoric but unproven. Granted, if the horse is seriously injured, he shouldn’t run. But I hope that his owners will try to cement his place in horse racing history by racing him again and proving that he is an elite horse.