Editor-in-chief Claudia L. Ruiz talks to Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert and Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith about Justify, a 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy with the looks and horsepower of a fine Italian sports car…
Claudia Ruiz: What was your first impression the first time you saw Justify work?
Bob Baffert: He started out at Los Alamitos and every time he worked, Mike Marlow, my assistant over there, he would say, “man he acts like a good horse.” I want to say it was December 30th that he worked 5/8ths in 59 and change and Mike said, “This horse is serious.” Whenever he uses the word ‘serious’, it’s usually a really good horse, because he’s been around the really good ones. He said the same about American Pharoah and Arrogate.
When I brought Justify over to Santa Anita I sent him out 5/8ths. They usually get a little tired the first time they go over our track because it’s so deep, but he galloped out really well. That’s when I knew he was special. I worked him twice out of the gate and I knew, going in the first time, he was a superior horse. He worked really fast, but he did it effortlessly. The really good ones will tip you off.
CR: Is there a difference in his temperament from what he is like working in the mornings to when he is racing?
BB: No, he’s a very good-feeling, happy go lucky horse; really enjoys working and always has a little bounce.
CR: He is very muscular…
BB: Yeah, very muscular, but he’s really light on his feet. He’s beautiful—a magnificent looking horse. Athleticism, I mean, when you look at him you just can’t pick him apart. He’s an outstanding specimen, like a statue of a racehorse in the paddock. He’s got a big hip on him, his hind end is just massive and he’s strong. He’s big, but not too big, I want to say about 16.2 hands, probably about the same size as [American] Pharoah, but… READ MORE