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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Justify Goes According to Plan


Will Continue Galloping at Churchill Downs

With Humberto Gomez aboard, Kentucky Derby victor Justify returned to the track Thursday morning for the first time since Saturday's Run for the Roses.

The Bob Baffert trainee was the first horse on the track at 7:30 following the first track maintenance renovation break.

Sporting his Kentucky Derby training saddle towel, Justify backtracked to the finish line accompanied by a pony with Baffert assistant Jim Barnes aboard. Justify then galloped about 1 1/2 mile before returning to the barn.

“I was very happy with him,” Barnes said. “He went to the track perfect and galloped perfect. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

“Each day he was getting better (from a foot bruise),” Barnes said. “He is 100 percent. He was ready to go. He was getting a little pushy in his stall.”

Among those looking on Thursday morning was Elliott Walden, President/CEO and Racing Manager of WinStar.

“I thought he went great,” Walden said. “The last couple of days he has looked good in the shed, but you never know until you get them out there. He has dealt with a cracked heel off and on and that is typical of horses. The track was rough Saturday with all the rain. The first time we saw it was when he came out for you guys Sunday. We had to figure out what it was and work on it.”

Barnes said Justify most likely would remain on a 7:30 schedule until he leaves for Baltimore next week and the Preakness on May 19.

“We will stick to the same plan and go a little light into Baltimore,” said Barnes of the post-Derby routine that Baffert has followed in the past “Just keep him happy and healthy."

Several horses based at Churchill Downs that are probable or possible for the Preakness: Bravazo (trainer D. Wayne Lukas), Givemeaminit (Dallas Stewart), Lone Sailor (Tom Amoss), Sporting Chance (Lukas) and Tenfold (Steve Asmussen).

Edited Churchill Downs release

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