Scat Daddy Colt ‘Justifies’ the Hype in Santa Anita Derby

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9th at SA , $1,000,000GI Santa Anita Derby (1 1/8m)Winner: Justify, c, 3 by Scat Daddy

Justify | Horsephotos

Unbeaten ‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy), already favored in last month’s third Derby future wager pool at 6-1 without a stakes attempt even on his resume yet, lived up to all the billing with a three-length victory over Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro) as the 4-5 chalk in Saturday’s GI Santa Anita Derby.

The $500,000 KEESEP yearling broke running and sped down the backstretch through fractions of :23.96 and :47.85. Two-time Grade I winner Bolt d’Oro, chasing in second throughout, was ridden along to cut the margin to about a length as they rounded the far turn. Justify drifted out on the far turn to about the thee path, and Bolt d’Oro was re-guided toward the rail, but the big chestnut was just getting started at that point and leveled off nicely once set down in the stretch to win going away.

“Justify is just a natural and he’s just learning how to run,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert after saddling a record eighth Santa Anita Derby winner. “He has that big, beautiful stride. He reminds you a lot of Point Given, just a big, red train type of horse. He’s quick and he’s light on his feet. It’s just good that he showed up, he did what we thought and were hoping he was going to do. I just feel fortunate to have him.”

Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith added, “What you’re seeing right now is really just raw talent. He’s got so much room to grow and to even get better, believe it or not. I think this race is going to put a lot more bottom into him.”

Justify, a jaw-dropping debut winner going seven furlongs at Santa Anita Feb. 18, successfully stretched to two turns with an equally impressive win going a mile in a $75,000 optional claimer in Arcadia Mar. 11.

Justify shares ownership with last Saturday’s GI Florida Derby hero Audible (Into Mischief), who he will face off with in Louisville. Part owners China Horse Club, WinStar and SF Racing are also the connections of today’s impressive GIII Bay Shore S. winner National Flag (Speightstown) and GII Tampa Bay Derby victor Quip (Distorted Humor), who takes Justify’s place in Arkansas. Justify’s breeder John Gunther is also responsible for today’s GII Wood Memorial S. winner Vino Rosso (Curlin).

Pedigree Notes:

Justify is the 25th Grade I winner for the late Scat Daddy, who was also represented by GII Toyota Blue Grass S. runner-up Flameaway Saturday and has a third Kentucky Derby runner in last weekend’s G2 UAE Derby romper Mendelssohn. Gunther paid $425,000 for Justify’s GISP second dam Magical Illusion at the 2005 Keeneland January sale and his dam, GSP Stage Magic, was her second foal. The 11-year-old mare has a 2-year-old filly named Egyptian Storm (Pioneerof the Nile), who was purchased by Robert Evans and West Point Thoroughbreds for $230,000 at Keeneland September; and a yearling colt by Will Take Charge. Stage Magic was bred back to Pioneerof the Nile. Justify hails from the same female family as MGSW Kid Cruz (Lemon Drop Kid) and Grade II winner Spellbound (Bernardini).

SANTA ANITA DERBY-GI, $1,000,345, SA, 4-7, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:49.72, ft.
1–JUSTIFY, 124, c, 3, by Scat Daddy
1st Dam: Stage Magic (GSP, $133,981), by Ghostzapper
2nd Dam: Magical Illusion, by Pulpit
3rd Dam: Voodoo Lily, by Baldski
‘TDN RISING STAR’. 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED
STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I WIN. ($500,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP).
O-China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Starlight
Racing & WinStar Farm; B-John D. Gunther (KY); T-Bob Baffert;
J-Mike E. Smith. $600,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $666,000.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick
Rating: A++.2–Bolt d’Oro, 124, c, 3, Medaglia d’Oro–Globe Trot, by A.P.
Indy. ($630,000 Ylg ’16 FTSAUG). O-Ruis Racing LLC; B-WinStar
Farm, LLC (KY); T-Mick Ruis. $200,000.3–Core Beliefs, 124, c, 3, Quality Road–Tejati, by Tactical
Advantage. ($45,000 Ylg ’16 FTKOCT; $350,000 2yo ’17
BARMAR). O-Gary Broad; B-Thomas J. Young (KY); T-Peter
Eurton. $120,000.Margins: 3, 6HF, 1 1/4. Odds: 0.90, 1.10, 41.10.
Also Ran: Instilled Regard, Pepe Tono, Orbit Rain, Jimmy Chila. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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