Bob Baffert: Triple Crown Winner Justify Likely Not Running In Travers At Saratoga

Trainer told reporters at Del Mar on July 16 that his horse's chances of running in the Spa's top stakes race are slim.

Justify, winning the 150th Belmont Stakes, and thus, becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner in horse racing history. (Mike Lizzi)

Pretty much every horse racing fan in the country—and especially, those in Saratoga Springs (including me)—were hoping to catch a glimpse of recent Triple Crown winner Justify at Saratoga Race Course this August in the Travers Stakes. But according to his connections, chances are slim that he’ll be able appearing in the race.

Per NBC affiliate WNYT, Justify’s trainer Bob Baffert told reporters at Del Mar Racetrack on Monday that “The Travers would be out….He wouldn’t be able to make [the Travers].” Earlier, Baffert had also confirmed that Justify would likely not be running at Del Mar either, due to a left front-ankle injury. (As far as I’m concerned, that “would” makes it sound like a “maybe” still, but that’s because I’m a wordsmith and a big fan of the English language, not a horse trainer.)

Last week, the Saratoga County Chamber launched a campaign to coax Justify to the Spa this summer and contend in the Travers, with its #JUSTDEFY viral hashtag—but that same day, tweeted out a “get well soon” (see above) to the star Thoroughbred, noting that “When you’re ready, greatness awaits in Saratoga.”

It’s worth noting that just a single Triple Crown winner has ever won the Travers, too. That would be Whirlaway in the 1941 race. To that end, aside from the apparent injury keeping Justify clear of Del Mar and Saratoga, our racetrack has long been known as the “Graveyard of Favorites,” and many a top horse has lost big in the Travers—including 2015 Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah.

All potential winning or losing narratives aside, Justify still has a bright future ahead of him at the farm. His stud fees are already being estimated at $75 million a pop. Not too shabby, right?

Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.


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