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Santa Anita Park has announced it will go with a special early first post time of 12 noon on Saturday, June 23, in order to accommodate an on-track appearance between races by undefeated Triple Crown winner, Justify, who is scheduled to return to The Great Race Place this Sunday.
A winner of the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 7, the Bob Baffert-trained Justify achieved racing immortality by winning last Saturday's Grade I Belmont Stakes as he joined the legendary Seattle Slew in becoming only the second horse in Thoroughbred history to remain undefeated through the Triple Crown.
Baffert and regular rider Mike Smith will join-up with Justify in the Winner's Circle and both Hall of Famers will be available to media for interviews.
Unbeaten in six starts (three of them at Santa Anita, dating back to a rousing 9 ½ length maiden win going seven furlongs on Feb. 18), Justify, a striking chestnut colt by the late Scat Daddy, out of the Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, now has earnings of $3,798,000.
Although estimates vary, Justify, who is owned by China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, LLC, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm, is thought to be worth between $75 million and $100 million as a stallion prospect, which is helping to fuel intense speculation as to when and where his next start may come.
“He went back to the track this morning at Churchill and Jimmy (Barnes) said he's feeling great,” said Baffert this morning at Santa Anita. “We want to be patient…We'll wait a couple weeks and see where we're at and make a decision. Nothing has been decided right now.”
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