In just ten days dual classic winner Justify will attempt to make history and become the second Triple Crown winner this century for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
It is hard to believe that this son of Scat Daddy has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. If he can conclude this incredible run dating back to his maiden victory on debut at Santa Anita on February 18th with a win at “Big Sandy” next Saturday it will be one of the greatest thoroughbred racing accomplishments I have ever witnessed.
At the moment there appears to be ten three-year-olds gearing up to take on the undefeated colt. A few come in well rested after being defeated by Justify in the slop at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, while a couple of others are hoping to move forward just three weeks after taking a big run at the $500,000 Keeneland September 2016 purchase in Baltimore.
Here is my fair odds line as of May 30th:
Justify (4-5)– The Scat Daddy colt comes in a perfect 5 for 5 after a half-length victory in the Preakness. He appears to be doing as well as ever despite the arduous campaign. Without a ton of early speed likely to be entered next Saturday he should have things his way early and will be extremely tough to run down late.
Hofburg (6-1)– This Juddmonte Farms colt should have no problem getting the mile and a half distance and appears the likeliest to get the best of Justify if he fails to fire his best shot in the Belmont. That being said, it is difficult to take a relatively short price on the son of Tapit since he has just 1 win in 4 starts.
Tenfold (12-1)– This son of Curlin ran a career best 97 BRIS speed rating in the Preakness in his first race away from Arkansas for trainer Steve Asmussen. If he can avoid regression off of that third place effort at Pimlico he could be a major factor late.
Vino Rosso (16-1)– Things did not go his way in the Derby when he was drawn way outside and was wide throughout. His pedigree suggests that going a mile and a half should not be an issue. Can he get back to that 102 BRIS speed rating two-back in the Wood Memorial?
Bravazo (19-1)– It feels like the Preakness was the race for this Calumet Farm colt. He ran huge missing by just a half-length in the end. Finishing second or third is quite possible, but I cannot see him “turning the tables” on Justify in New York.
Noble Indy (24-1)– This WinStar Farm homebred found a nice spot from his far outside post in the Derby, but tired badly in the lane. Perhaps he did not like the slop, but getting the twelve furlongs is a major question mark.
Blended Citizen (32-1)– This Doug O’Neill trainee took advantage of a perfect trip in the Grade 3 Peter Pan and won going away under West Coast based jockey Kyle Frey. Clunking up for a minor share is quite possible, but besting this entire group seems a bit much to ask.
Bandua (50-1)– The second of two Calumet Farm colts ships to the States after two impressive wins over the turf at Cork in Ireland. A big ask for trainer Dermot Weld, but this son of The Factor has done nothing wrong yet.
Restoring Hope (80-1)– The second of two Baffert runners has been disappointing since a three and a half length victory versus special weight company at Santa Anita in early February. He appears overmatched in here.
Gronkowski (100-1)– The son of Lonhro is likely to be way over bet because of his name, but he has virtually no chance of beating this group.
Free Drop Billy (250-1)– This Union Rags colt has not won in 4 starts this year. Absolutely no chance.