Special ‘farewell’ ceremony held for Triple Crown winner Justify

Triple Crown winner Justify
(Kelley Carlson )

Undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify was paraded before the Del Mar crowd on July 28 in a “farewell” ceremony. The 3-year-old chestnut colt was retired last week, and is headed to Kentucky to begin his breeding career.

“You know, it’s just a little bit sad,” said his jockey, Mike Smith. “Now it’s real. He’s really going. Understand, I’m happy for him. He’s going to be happy where he’s going. I’m just glad I was part of all this. Special horse; special time. We’ll miss him.”

“I’m sort of sad right now,” said his trainer, Bob Baffert. “It’s like when (Triple Crown winner) American Pharoah won the Breeders’ Cup (in his last race). The next day I was so sad. … There was a lot of pressure, but the rewards are special. He came around so quickly, and it was a fun ride. Somebody up there likes me; I feel really good about it. But it is emotional. I could cry right now.”

Baffert likely still had some happy moments during the weekend, though, which included the winning debuts of two promising 2-year-olds in his barn - Chasing Yesterday, a half-sister to American Pharaoh, and Roadster.

There was also plenty of stakes action during the week. Winners were Unique Bella (Grade I, $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes); Ransom the Moon (Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes); Fly to Mars ($150,000 California Dreamin’ Stakes), trained by Peter Miller of Encinitas; Just Grazed Me ($150,000 Fleet Treat Stakes); Take the One O One ($150,000 Real Good Deal Stakes); and Beach View ($100,000 Cougar II Handicap).

Del Mar also recently announced that this Saturday, Aug. 4, will be a Diamond Club Discount Day. Diamond Club members will receive free admission and a free program, along with discounted food and beverages in the Plaza de Mexico.