Triple Crown winner Justify won't run in Travers

July 16, 2018 06:51 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Bad news for horse racing fans. Triple Crown phenom Justify will not be running at Saratoga this summer.

Reaction across the board was disappointment but not surprise in the Spa City Monday afternoon after people realized the huge financial risk owners would be taking if Justify were to saddle up at Saratoga.


After the glory, the high hopes, and the expectations, a soft tissue injury in the front left ankle of Triple Crown winner Justify will make it an un-Justified summer in Saratoga Springs.

"The Travers would be out," Bob Baffert, Justify's trainer, told reporters outside the horse's barn at Del Mar Race Track in California Monday morning, "He wouldn't be able to make that."

The decision by Baffert on the West Coast reached the streets of the Spa City quicker than his super horse can run a two furlong workout at sunrise.

"It's a significant disappointment, " said Carlos Gutierrez, a regular track goer, "I think most of the Saratoga merchants and restaurants are going to be very disappointed with that news."

Gutierrez hit the exacta with that prediction.

"We would love to see him here but his health is the primary concern," said Marianne Barker, owner of Impression of Saratoga, a gift shop on Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs,"As much as we're disappointed, he's still a Triple Crown winner and still created a lot of excitement for horse racing."

Barker has been stockpiling Justify memorabilia at her popular shop, including mounted photographs, hats, and tee shirts.

"We probably won't be getting any more Justify tee shirts because if he's not coming, it's sort of a moot point," Barker explains, "We would have definitely drawn more people that would have come just to see him. He's a hero. Everyone wants to see a super star."

The decision also scratches from existence the marketing plan unveiled last week by the Saratoga Regional Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Todd Shimkus issued a statement Monday afternoon that states:

"Health. History. Horses. That's our City's motto. Health comes first. We just always put the health of the horse first. Now our hope turns to the 2018 Race Meet and our hope that it will DEFY all expectations."

"I was looking forward to seeing Justify, " said Doug Williams, another track regular, spending time at a sidewalk cafe on Broadway Monday afternoon when he heard the news, "Maybe they'll still pay a promotional fee and get him here."

The disappointment stretches from coast to coast.

"I'd love to run him again," Baffert said, "He's so much fun to watch. He's so fast. People just really love him."

But if Justify's ankle doesn't heal, people may never see him race ever again. Baffert says the horse is too valuable as a stallion to risk running him as a 4-year old.


WNYT Staff

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