Photo: KentuckyDerby via Twitter.
Justify produced an outstanding performance to win the Kentucky Derby, delivering on the pre-race expectations to triumph at the event. The bay colt was considered the favourite for the meet, although there was perceived threat of a challenge from the emergence of Aidan O’Brien’s Mendelssohn. However, O’Brien’s charge endured a miserable time at the Churchill Downs as Justify confirmed his dominance of the field, securing the victory ahead of Good Magic by two-and-a-half lengths. It was Bob Baffert’s fifth triumph in the Derby, leaving him just one behind Ben A Jones at the top of the all-time list.
Justify has the talent to build on his success, boasting similar qualities to that of Baffert’s previous victor at the Derby – American Pharoah. The horse would win the Triple Crown, adding further victories at the Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic. The three-year-old’s performance has seen him installed as the leading contender for the next race of the trilogy – the Preakness Stakes. As a result, he does not have great value in the betting odds, although given the dominance of his performance at the Churchill Downs, the bookies will be confident in their assertions.
However, given the difficulty of achieving the Triple Crown, it could be worth considering an outsider for the crown. In recent years, both California Chrome and I’ll Have Another have won two of the events but, ultimately, fell short of etching their place in history. Justify may have the quality to rise to the occasion on the two race days, but it could be worth considering another horse for the Preakness Stakes such as Good Magic. He does have a victory at the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, defeating Solomini and Bolt D’Oro. Good Magic could be worth backing with a free bet at 7/2, with https://freebets.uk/ offering a variety of sign-up offers, including with Bet365 to get up to £100 in free credits.
Baffert’s charge has known nothing other than victory and is rightly the leading contender for the Preakness Stakes. He has four races under his belt in his limited career, becoming the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby having not competed as a two-year-old since 1882. Justify has won four of his meets by comfortable margins. In his final outing before the Derby he put a marker down against one of his rivals for the crown, defeating Bolt D’Oro by three lengths.
One of the criticisms levied at Justify ahead of the Derby was his lack of action away from Santa Anita. Conditions were tricky due to heavy rainfall at the Churchill Downs, but Mike E Smith ensured that he kept his charge on course for the victory. He made his move four furlongs from the end of the race and was able to maintain his surge down the straight to see out a comfortable win, finishing two-and-a-half lengths ahead of Good Magic. The next challenge for Justify will come at Pimlico where his rival could end his attempt for a historic run towards the Triple Crown.