Unbeaten Triple Crown Hero Justify to Coolmore America


Justify | Sarah Andrew

The long-anticipated deal between the owners of Justify (Scat Daddy–Stage Magic, by Ghostzapper) and Coolmore America regarding the unbeaten Triple Crown winner’s stallion career has been finalized, it was announced Friday afternoon.

A fee will be set for Justify at a later date.

“After much deliberation with all the partners, we’ve decided to accept Coolmore’s offer to stand Justify,” said Elliott Walden, president, CEO and racing manager of WinStar Farm. “As you can imagine, this is a bittersweet moment for all of us connected to this special horse who gave us the ultimate thrill of a lifetime. We believe strongly in Justify as a stallion and the ownership group has retained breeding rights. We look forward to supporting him at Ashford Stud.”

Campaigned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC, and Starlight Racing and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Justify was retired in late July with a perfect six-for-six record and earnings of $3,798,000.

Bred in Kentucky by Glennwood Farm, Justify became the first unblemished Triple Crown winner since Seattle Slew in 1977.

“We look forward to standing our second Triple Crown winner at Ashford Stud,” said M.V. Magnier (Coolmore also stands 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah). “Let’s hope he proves as good as his sire Scat Daddy. We are thankful to everyone involved with Justify, and are excited to have him at Coolmore. It is an amazing achievement for Bob Baffert and his team to have developed the career of two Triple Crown winners in just 4 years.

Justify’s meteoric rise to the top came in a remarkably short period of time. Unraced at two, the hulking chestnut captured his seven-furlong debut in jaw-dropping fashion at Santa Anita Feb. 18, easily good enough for ‘TDN Rising Star’ honors, and he quickly added a second win in an optional claimer while making his two-turn debut going a mile at the Arcadia track Mar. 11.

After that, it was on to the GI Santa Anita Derby Apr. 7, where he scored by an emphatic three lengths as a prep for the Kentucky Derby. On the first Saturday in May, Justify attended a fast pace and kept finding, striding home 2 1/2 lengths in front in the Churchill Downs slop, ending the “Curse of Apollo” and becoming the first horse since 1882 to win the Derby without starting as a 2-year-old.

After a hard-fought half-length victory over Bravazo (Awesome Again) in a foggy renewal of the GI Preakness S. May 19, Justify closed out his career in style, becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner with a comfortable 1 3/4-length win in the GI Belmont S. June 9.

Justify’s Grade III-placed dam Stage Magic is also responsible for a 2-year-old half-sister to Justify by Pioneerof the Nile named Egyptian Storm, who was purchased by Robert S. Evans and West Point Thoroughbreds for $230,000 from the Glennwood consignment at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

Stage Magic’s yearling colt by Will Take Charge RNA’d for $1.75 million at KEESEP earlier this week. She produced a colt by Pioneerof the Nile Apr. 19 before being bred back to Quality Road.

Her 4-year-old daughter Holiday Music (Harlan’s Holiday) was claimed by trainer Neil Pessin for $30,000 out of a winning effort at the Fair Grounds on New Year’s Day and was subsequently privately purchased by Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Farm.

Justify’s second dam Magical Illusion (Pulpit) was third in the 2004 GI Coaching Club American Oaks, while third dam Voodoo Lily was a Grade III winner.

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