Justify Too Hobbled to Make a Run at Haskell Invitational

Monday, July 16, 2018 4:00 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 16, 2018 4:00 PM UTC

A swollen ankle has caused owners and trainer Bob Baffert to exercise on the side of caution with Triple Crown winner Justify, who will skip the Haskell Invitational before being re-evaluated.

<p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-60001183-a0aa-60f3-1ce6-7ebb585acbfc">After becoming the 13th horse to capture the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes on June 9, the plan for undefeated Justify (6-0-0 in 6 career starts, all in 2018) was to race in the <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/" title="Free Sports Picks">$1 million Haskell Invitational</a> — the richest invitational in North America — on July 29 at Monmouth Park in Oceanside, New Jersey. However, that plan has now been scrapped due to swelling in the the 3-year-old chestnut wondercolt’s from left ankle.</p><p dir="ltr">Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said the swelling recently began and told Daily Racing Form he would ship Justify back to Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, California, to be part of the track’s summer meet, which starts Wednesday. Justify will be re-evaluated in 2 weeks with co-owners WinStar Farm not willing to declare future plans until they know he’s healthy. Justify hasn’t worked out since the Belmont Stakes.</p><p dir="ltr"><img height="454" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/rpduT3k7ArRKtS-GfWVjzFaN2-RDO_N5Y6hIwHar8SSRLC09ejuJdA2pprlyMJa_Ijk7VUeDHGDUFNRyi_kTF-DI5_OsXhe-XzRyeyPArq373mQ-lrkT8Je5h4qlZlBmQvjxIOz8" width="611" /></p><p dir="ltr">Always the biggest horse racing day on the Jersey Shore, the Haskell will simply have to do without Justify, but with <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/" title="Sports Betting Odds">this year’s edition will be the first to be held since sports betting was legalized</a> in the Garden State — as well as the entire U.S. — with Monmouth Park having undergone <a href="http://www.nj.com/sports/index.ssf/2018/06/sports_betting_at_monmouth_park_inside_the_setup_f.html">$3 million in renovations</a> to make a modern Las Vegas-like sportsbook at the track.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Once On Whiskey a Surprise Winner in Los Alamitos Derby</h2><p dir="ltr">Ax Man, Draft Pick and Blended Citizen were the horses to watch in the 5-horse, $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby (G3) at Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress, California, on Saturday, but it was the Bob Baffert-trained Once On Whiskey who shocked them all on the dirt track, catching favorite Draft Pick (3/5) at the wire:</p><p dir="ltr">[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"https://www.youtube.com/embed/PXJTIjSL7sE", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]</p><p dir="ltr">“He’s not very big, but what he did today was impressive,” a pleasantly surprised Baffert said of Once On Whiskey (2-1-1 in 4 career starts), owned by owned by Karl Watson, Michael Pegram and Paul Weitman. It was the third Los Alamitos Derby win for Baffert (West Coast, 2017; Gimme Da Lute, 2015) and the first time Once On Whiskey went longer than 7 furlongs. Draft Pick finished in a very close 2nd place, with Ax Man 3rd.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Voodoo Song, US Navy Flag Win</h2><p dir="ltr">Jockey Manuel Franco swept Saturday’s stakes races at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, winning in the irons of both Voodoo Song (5/1) in the 1-mile Turf Forbidden Apple, topping race favorite and 2017 winner Disco Partner (9-5). Franco, third in the jockey standings into racing Sunday (48 wins), also won the $100,000 Rockville Centre on La Fuerza (win paid $2.90) in the 2018 Rockville Centre (for N.Y.-bred juveniles) earlier in the day, capturing the 6-furlong dirt race to stay undefeated in the Todd Pletcher-trained horse’s 2-race career.</p><p dir="ltr">And, the Aidan O’Brien-trained US Navy Flag (5-2-2 in 16 career starts) — son of War Front — gave the Irish trainer his fourth victory in the July Cup at Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk, England, <a href="https://www.paulickreport.com/news/thoroughbred-racing/u-s-navy-flag-gives-obrien-fourth-july-cup-will-aim-for-everest/">on Saturday</a> as jockey Ryan Moore quickly took the 3-year-old colt to the front of the pack and just let him run. “We were hoping that he would put on a performance today and obviously we have our eye on the Everest Stakes in Australia. He'll probably have a little rest now -- he's had a tough time -- then we'll train him for the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Everest">the Everest</a>,” O’Brien said of the big race set for Oct. 13 at Royal Randwick Racecourse in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><h2 dir="ltr">Upcoming North American Calendar</h2><p dir="ltr"><strong>Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1):</strong> July 29; Monmouth Park, Oceanport, New Jersey<br /><strong>Travers Stakes (G1):</strong> Aug. 25; Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs, New York<br /><strong>Breeders’ Cup World Championships (G1):</strong> Nov. 2-3; Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky</p>
comment here