While Justify's racing career is now up in the air - though Elliott Walden, president and CEO of co-owner WinStar Farm, has hinted at the possibility of future races - the next chapter in Justify's professional career is set to begin, after a deal for his breeding rights went for a record $75 million, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell. A plan will be formulated once the chestnut colt recovers from a compressed schedule that saw him win six races over 111 days since his debut on February 18. The chestnut son of Scat Daddy was greeted by his usual throng of media attention, but remained unfazed in the hands of trainer Bob Baffert's top assistant Jimmy Barnes.
Justify won the 150th Belmont Stakes on Saturday, becoming only the second undefeated Triple Crown champion in history.
Fourth-place finisher Vino Rosso's team, however, thought there was a bit more gamesmanship than what Baffert let on. He said the horse traveled well and will be "just taking it easy" for a few days before this weekend's celebration and return to California.
Justify is the first Triple Crown victor to face that many rivals in Belmont.
However, Restoring Hope's jockey Florent Geroux said there was no plan to clear out the competition for Justify, he simply had to adjust within the race.
"No, Restoring Hope has natural speed", Baffert said. "He's just that kind of horse". We're looking forward to sharing him more.
"But they all ran well, but that's all you can ask for, that your horses do well, but they still have to show up".
"This horse ran a tremendous race", said Smith, who at 52 is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. Justify pulled away down the 1,097-yard stretch in front of a grandstand packed with screaming fans with only 24-1 shot Gronkowski picking up the chase down the lane.
From the first turn through the back stretch, Restoring Hope hung right off Justify, pinning Bravazo to the rail, whose late charge in the shorter Preakness Stakes almost overtook Justify in that race. But now what? Has another "savior" of horse racing come and gone? The Triple Crowns of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed, coming as they did after a quarter of a century without, cast the sport in a bright white light that demanded attention.
Baffert's reply: "There's plenty of gas in the tank, Don't use it all up at once".