Justify gallops for Baffert in training for Belmont Stakes

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Justify has galloped at Churchill Downs in front of trainer Bob Baffert as the Triple Crown hopeful trains for the Belmont Stakes.

Baffert arrived from Southern California to watch Justify gallop 1-plus miles on Monday. The trainer says the 3-year-old colt could breeze Tuesday. That’s a workout when Justify would easily run under a hold without encouragement from his exercise rider.

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Baffert says everything is going smoothly with Justify’s training for the June 9 Belmont and the colt is holding his weight despite his condensed racing schedule this spring.

Other possible Belmont contenders are training at Churchill, including Restoring Hope, which could be Baffert’s other entry in the 1-plus-mile race. Also in Louisville is Preakness runner-up Bravazo, Tenfold, who was third in the Preakness, and Free Drop Billy.

Santa Anita cancels racing after heavy rain inundates track

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Santa Anita has canceled its eight-race card because of wet weather after 3+ inches of rain dropped on the Southern California racetrack in three days.

Officials at the track in Arcadia say heavy overnight rains and more rain throughout the day Thursday made it necessary to cancel. They say the track will make every effort to reschedule the races in the immediate future.

Track superintendent Andy LaRocco says an additional 2 inches of rain was forecast for Thursday.

Live racing will resume on Friday with eight races.

Kentucky Derby purse up to $3 million

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby’s purse will be raised to $3 million this May, an increase of $1 million and the first boost in 14 years.

Churchill Downs said Thursday the winner of the 145th running will receive $1.86 million. The runner-up will earn $600,000, with third place worth $300,000, fourth place $150,000 and fifth place $90,000.

The Derby purse had been $2 million since 2005 and $1 million from 1996-2004.

Track President Kevin Flanery attributes the increase to more bettors using historical racing machines – the electronic form of parimutuel betting – at a recently opened facility near the track.

The second and third legs of the Triple Crown offer total purses of $1.5 million in the Preakness and Belmont stakes.

The purse for the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on May 3 was raised by $250,000 to $1.25 million. It had been worth $1 million since 2011 and was worth $500,000 from 1996-2010.

Churchill Downs also increased purses for some races on the Derby Day undercard on May 4.