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Baffert: Justify doing well after treatment for bruised heel

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Trainer Bob Baffert says Justify is doing well and is on track for the Preakness after the Kentucky Derby winner was treated for a bruised heel on his left hind foot.

Baffert says Justify was irritated by some gravel on Sunday morning outside the barn at Churchill Downs after winning the Derby on a muddy track. Baffert said on a conference call Thursday that Justify’s feet were tender following the race but added the problem is over after quick treatment.

Preakness Stakes: What Time, Where to Watch and More.

“He actually came out of the race really well,” Baffert said from California. “It’s all behind us, and we’re on to Baltimore.”

Justify is undefeated in four starts and expected to be a heavy favorite against Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip and others at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 19. He returned to the track at Churchill Downs to gallop Thursday, with assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes reporting to Baffert that Justify was sharp.

Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm, which co-owns Justify, was concerned about the horse’s foot condition Sunday and credited Baffert and his team for resolving it in four days.

“Obviously it’s something that was concerning at the time, but at the same time, you’ve got to have a perspective that you just do the best you can and then things will work out the way they’re supposed to work out,” Walden said.

Veteran trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who is expected to saddle Bravazo and Sporting Chance in the Preakness, watched Justify up close Thursday and said he looked excellent.

“He jogged off perfectly sound, he turned around and galloped very strong,” Lukas said. “I know everybody was watching and looking for a little crack in the armor, but it wasn’t there today and he looked excellent out there. Very good. And showed no signs of what I call stress – breaking out or anything. It was a good day for him. He had a wonderful day.”

Best Solution, Northern Ireland jockey win Caulfield Cup

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Godolphin stable’s Best Solution won the Caulfield Cup in a photo finish ahead of American-bred Homesman, with The Cliffsofmoher finishing third on Saturday in the 2,400-meter race.

Ridden by Pat Cosgrave of Northern Ireland, Best Solution recovered from a bad start to follow Taj Mahal at 600 meters to go and hold on for the Group One win.

Cosgrave was later suspended by race stewards for 11 meetings for a careless riding charge.

The jockey decided to take his suspension immediately, which means he will miss the Cox Plate, another major lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s richest and most prestigious race on Nov. 6 at Flemington.

Cosgrave plans to ride in Dubai on Nov. 3 before returning to Melbourne to again partner Best Solution in the Melbourne Cup.

Cosgrave pleaded guilty to the charge that he allowed Best Solution to shift in near the 1,800-meter mark of the Caulfield Cup, tightening Japanese runner Sole Impact.

Japanese rider Ryusei Sakai was also suspended for causing interference at the same point of the Caulfield Cup when he too shifted ground when not clear. He was suspended for 11 meetings and is able to ride again on Oct. 31.

The victory gave trainer Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin their second Caulfield Cup after All The Good won in 2008.

Pre-race favorite Kings Will Dream had a bad start to drop a couple of lengths and never recovered, finishing sixth after being caught in traffic.

Ex-jockey Valenzuela pleads guilty to domestic violence

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VISTA, Calif. (AP) Famed former jockey Patrick Valenzuela has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence for slapping his girlfriend at a Southern California restaurant.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the seven-time Breeders Cup winner entered the plea earlier this week, was fined nearly $900 and ordered to take domestic violence recovery classes.

Prosecutors say Valenzuela slapped his girlfriend last month for hugging a bartender at a Carlsbad restaurant.

Valenzuela told the Union-Tribune by phone Friday that he is “very saddened” by the situation and added: “I will continue to strive to be the best person I can be.”

Valenzuela had more than 4,300 winning races, including the 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He’s struggled with drug and alcohol abuse and lost his California racing license. He last raced in 2016.