Justify, jockeyed by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert, won the 144th Kentucky Derby after battling muddy conditions at Churchill Downs.
It was his fourth win in four starts. Justify entered the morning with 3-1 odds. Good Magic rallied to finish in second while Audible took third place in what was one of the most competitive Kentucky Derby fields in years.
Justify also ended the Curse of Apollo, becoming the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby after not racing as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882.
“It would take a horse like him to break the curse, and wow, I can’t describe how special this horse is,” Smith said after winning his second Kentucky Derby.
Baffert admitted he was nervous all day with the sloppy conditions on the track but is thrilled to earn his fifth Kentucky Derby win.
“Him and American Pharoah and Arrogate, these horses are cut from a different – you know, they’re just so great,” Baffert said. “It took a great horse to do what he did today. I’m so proud of my whole team and everybody… I just kept a great horse. I’m just glad it’s over. I rank him up there with my top ones.”
Justify will go for the second leg of the Triple Crown at the Preakness on May 19 on NBC and the NBC Sports app.
Last year, Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs but came up short in the Preakness. Only 12 horses have won the Triple Crown with the last coming in 2015 (American Pharoah).