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Thread: Justify
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Spalding No! View Post
Going to be an interesting dilemma for Baffert with respect to the Triple Crown.

He has been in this position or similar before and while he's been close a couple of times with them in the classics, he's never fully delivered. Furthermore, the effort usually comes with the cost of 6-12 months layup if not outright retirement.

2001 - Congaree, who made an early fall start at 2 before going to the sidelines, reappeared in a February maiden (off-the-turf mile) and romped. Took an allowance and the Wood Memorial in succession, gave a brave account in the Derby under a ridiculous pace, ho-hum in the Preakness, regrouped in the Swaps and then melted down at odds on in the Jim Dandy. Gone for several months afterwards and took over a year and a half to show anything like Grade 1 quality again.

2011 - Bodemeister takes a February route maiden in his second career start (debuted in January), then places in the San Felipe and romps in the Arkansas Derby. Couldn't stave off the streaking I'll Have Another in either the Derby or the Preakness then couldn't get out of gallop when aiming for the Haskell. Never ran again.

2014 - Bayern romps in a January 7f maiden, destroys an allowance route then sat out the month of March to await the Arkansas Derby where he flopped. Tossed into the Preakness after a disastrous Derby Trial, he folded like a cheap suit. The season went up and down like this the rest of the year, but was ultimately a success when eliminating both his pace rival (Moreno) and perhaps the best of horse in the race (Shared Belief) at the start of the BC Classic. The fact that he even carried on after the Preakness was a bit of surprise in the face of the demands placed on him early, but eventually the physical toll caught up with him and he was utterly useless as a 4yo.

2014 - Hoppertunity was blitzed by Bayern in his debut race, but romped right back in a route maiden. Was all over the place subsequently, running in major preps at Fair Grounds, Oaklawn Park, and Santa Anita. Not surprisingly, with such management, he was a Derby week casualty after shipping to Churchill Downs, supposedly with a foot issue (that apparently got better with ankle surgery). Gone for 6 months and has had a prolonged and modestly successful career ever since.

Non-Baffert trained late-comers have faired a bit better.

Curlin went to Churchill with a bullet after romping in the Rebel and Arkansas Derby and despite wilting in the Derby, he took down the Preakness and just missed in the Belmont. Surprisingly, never missed a beat after that.

Red Bullet went through 6f, 7f, and 8f races starting in January before tasting defeat in the Wood Memorial. Wisely held from the Derby, he spoiled Fusaichi Pegasus' pre-ordained Triple Crown run by winning the Preakness. Imploded at 3-5 in the Dwyer (though he edged Belmont winner Commendable for 3rd to keep out of last place) and didn't start again for over a year. Never anything like Grade 1 when he finally returned.

Pulpit was put through the ringer after a sensational January 7f maiden at Gulfstream, taking down an allowance and Fountain of Youth, placing in the Florida Derby, and regrouping with a win in the Blue Grass all ahead of the Derby. At Churchill he was a tired horse down the lane, only managing a distance 4th. Never ran again.

I would guess Justify will target the Rebel and Arkansas Derby, given Baffert's prior success there. McKinzie seems distance-challenged to me, Solamini is of suspect physical robustness (lugs in, doesn't change leads in all starts), and Mourinho has never really looked like a top prospect. That means Justify is probably Baffert's main hope for the Triple Crown which in turn means he probably won't get the patient handling of Arrogate or even West Coast.

The man has trained 4 KY Derby winners.....6 Preakness winners....
and 2 Belmont winners.

Sure, racing takes it toll on some of his horses.
Let me ask you this, though.
Who would you rather have train a TC prospect for you?
Todd Pletcher or Bob Baffert?

Now, if your horse needs more time to mature, with a better
chance of success down the road, there might be other trainers.
If your horse has a future on turf - again, there might be other trainers.

To get you to Churchill Downs in May?
I'll take Baffert over anyone.
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