LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Justify has finished a five-furlong workout at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Belmont Stakes and pursuit of a Triple Crown.
Trainer Bob Baffert watched the colt cover the distance in 1 minute, 1.40 seconds on Monday morning with jockey Martin Garcia aboard. Justify galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.60 and seven in 1:27.20 with about 100 spectators watching on the front stretch and just as many on the backside.
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Justify’s workout comes nearly a week after running a half mile in 46.80 seconds in preparation for Saturday’s 1+-mile race. Baffert says the horse is relaxed, the workout went smooth and “all seems good.”
Justify aims to follow American Pharoah’s 2015 Triple Crown triumph with Baffert and become the 13th horse to win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont. The colt will leave Wednesday for New York.
ARCADIA, Calif. — Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza is planning a comeback in late December after fracturing a vertebra in his neck during a training accident at Del Mar.
That’s according to his agent Brian Beach, who says Friday that Espinoza saw his doctors this week and they are pleased with his progress. However, they’re not yet ready to release the 46-year-old Hall of Fame jockey to ride again.
Beach says on his Twitter account that Espinoza “wants to be 100 percent when he comes back.”
A late December return would allow Espinoza to ride at Santa Anita, which opens its winter-spring meet on Dec. 26.
Espinoza got hurt July 22 when he fell while exercising a horse.
He rode American Pharoah to a Triple Crown sweep in 2015.
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Vale Dori defeated La Force by three-quarters of a length to win the $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes in an upset at Santa Anita on Sunday.
Abel Tasman, the 1-9 favorite trained by Bob Baffert, finished next-to-last, beaten 10 1/2 lengths. Vale Dori, an 11-1 shot also trained by Baffert, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.88 under Joe Talamo. The Grade 1 victory earned her an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
Vale Dori snapped a six-race skid.
Bettors waged $474,683 to show on Abel Tasman, who was fresh off a pair of Grade 1 victories in New York under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. But she broke poorly from the starting gate and never fired.
“I’m as shocked as everybody else, but they’ll do that,” Baffert said. “I’m worried about (Abel Tasman) because Mike said she was lethargic, and she’s up there where all these sick horses are, so I hope she’s not getting sick.”
Vale Dori returned $24.60, $13.20 and $40.60. She earned $180,000, and increased her career earnings to $1,365,567.
La Force paid $8.40 and $14.60. Shenandoah Queen was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $26.60 to show.