Justify is doing great the morning after his victory in the Belmont Stakes.
"We were watching the replays of the race, and he could have gone around there again," Bob Baffert said. "Today he looked fantastic. He wasn't blowing after the race; he was blowing harder after the Preakness."
Justify was brought from his stall to the grassy area outside Barn 1 at Belmont Park for media, including production of a segment for NBC Nightly News.
Among his visitors this morning were Mike Smith; members of the China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners; and thoroughbred owner Ahmed Zayat, who bred and campaigned American Pharoah.
"He's in that private, special club, the Triple Crown, and he established himself as one of the greats," said Baffert. "The thing about him I cannot believe, the way he walked in the paddock yesterday. He left the stable barn, and I was watching the other horses and they were all skittish; and he walked up there just like King Kong. He knew, like he'd been there. He's really intelligent and a smart, smart horse and he knows when to turn it on."
The trainer said Justify would be shipped from Belmont Park to Churchill Downs on Monday morning and get a week or so off before figuring out what's going to happen next.
Justify is expected at Churchill Downs at approximately 2:30 ET, according to Churchill Downs’ Director of the Stable Area Steve Hargrave.
Next Saturday, during the track's Downs After Dark Presented by Budweiser program, there will be a Winner’s Circle ceremony where Justify’s owners, Baffert and Smith will receive engraved Kentucky Derby trophies.
"We'll take a deep breath and see where we are," said Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar. "He will get Justify right, and then we'll make a plan. We're looking forward to sharing him more. He's become a household name, and I'm looking forward to his next race as much as anyone."
Justify, a son of Scat Daddy, is the first Triple Crown winner to never have raced as a 2-year-old.
"This is just a special case," said Baffert. "We got him in November after the Breeders' Cup and took our time with him, no rush, and he just came along himself and when he showed us, his first out, that brilliance when he broke his maiden and we knew maybe there was a chance he's going to be something really, really special. We just let him go race by race."
Justify is the only undefeated Triple Crown winner besides Seattle Slew, also a front-running Belmont Stakes winner, in 1977. He joins Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Affirmed (1978) and the aforementioned American Pharoah as the only horses to complete the sweep.
Edited NYRA and Churchill Downs releases with additional content by Dick Downey