Justify wins 144th running of Kentucky Derby

  • Justify wins 144th running of Kentucky Derby

Justify wins 144th running of Kentucky Derby

Conditions couldn't be worse for the 144th running of the Derby as it's been pouring at Churchill Downs all day, making for a very muddy track.

Justify was the early 7-2 favorite in the full field of 20 colts.

Baffert has won five Kentucky Derbys in his career as a trainer and says Justify is up there with the best horses he's trained. The favorite won for the sixth year in a row, the longest such run since the 1970s.

The rain has not let up all Saturday for the Kentucky Derby. Good Magic, last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile victor, was second with another well-fancied runner, Audible, in third. "We thought he was the horse to beat and it was true".

It marked the seventh year in a row that a victor of one of the 100-point prep races emerged to win the Derby.

"He's just way above average and just a special, special horse", jockey Mike Smith said.

"We certainly feel like he's got a chance to go off in two weeks", owner Elliott Walden said. Not in the horse, just in the result, because as much as anything I want to win this race.

"It takes a lot to keep up with him and then you've got to try and run him down after that".

Justify was a horse that was so impressive from the beginning that Baffert thought the guy with the clock during workouts surely had the time wrong. Like Magnum Moon, he is trained by Todd Pletcher, who has experience winning at Churchill Downs.

He fretted when wife Jill pulled out a handsome green dress for Saturday's races.

"This guy" was the first horse to win the Derby after not having raced as a 2-year-old since 1882, the well-documented "Apollo curse" that appeared primed to be beaten sooner than later, and was.

That means Brown, 39, the two-time reigning Eclipse Award victor as the nation's top trainer, will have to wait at least one more year to celebrate that elusive milestone.

They'll be talking about him leading up to the Preakness in Baltimore on May 19. "I think later on I'll start getting excited as the days go on". They bought Justify for $500,000.

Instilled Regard, an 85-1 shot, was fourth, followed by My Boy Jack, Bravazo and Hofburg.

Mendelssohn, trying to become the first Europe-based horse to win the Derby, finished last.

Just not in Louisville, Ky., where this year Cinco de Mayo fell on Kentucky Derby Day. "The race was over for him then".

Mendelssohn's ambitious attempt to become the first European-trained victor of the Kentucky Derby floundered on a sloppy, rain-drenched track here on Saturday as Bob Baffert's Justify laid another long-standing hoodoo with victory in the 144th running of the race.

Mike Smith made his instant Derby victory.