Justify works out at Churchill ahead of Triple Crown pursuit

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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.

Santa Anita, Keeneland, Del Mar are Breeders’ Cup sites

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Breeders’ Cup has chosen Santa Anita, Keeneland and Del Mar to host its World Championships from 2019-2021 respectively, continuing its recent venue rotation between California and Kentucky tracks.

Santa Anita will host the season-ending event for a record 10th time in Nov. 1-2, 2019. Kentucky-based Keeneland (Nov. 6-7, 2020) and Del Mar (Nov. 5-6, 2021) will present the races for the second time each after debuting as venues in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel noted those tracks’ success with the event in a release on Friday and added we “look forward to building upon past triumphs.”

Louisville’s Churchill Downs will host races on Nov. 2-3. The last Breeders’ Cup held outside California and Kentucky was at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park in 2007.

Victor Espinoza in neck brace at home after accident

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DEL MAR, Calif. — Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza is wearing a neck brace while recovering at his San Diego home after fracturing a vertebra during a training accident at Del Mar.

Agent Brian Beach says on Twitter that the 46-year-old rider spent 11 days in the hospital and at a rehabilitation facility.

Espinoza says he initially thought he might be paralyzed after the July 22 fall at the track north of San Diego. He told ABC affiliate KGTV in San Diego that his body was numb and he could only move his right arm.

The jockey says the first time he cried was when he first started moving his right leg and by the time he got to the hospital he started moving his other leg.

Espinoza says his left arm is still numb. He will be in the neck brace for six weeks and hopes to make a full recovery.

He was exercising Bobby Abu Dhabi during morning workouts when the horse had an apparent heart attack and threw Espinoza off. Bobby Abu Dhabi died.

Espinoza rode American Pharoah to a sweep of the Triple Crown in 2015.