DEL MAR, Calif. — Triple Crown winner Justify has been retired from racing because of fluid in his left front ankle.
Trainer Bob Baffert and Justify’s owners made the announcement Wednesday. They said caution over his ankle condition made it impossible to tell if Justify would be healthy enough to race by the fall.
The goal was for Justify to run in a major race this summer and be pointed toward the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. He was taken out of training earlier this month because of swelling in his ankle.
Justify won all six career starts, becoming the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to capture the Kentucky Derby after not racing as a 2-year-old. He won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become the 13th Triple Crown winner and second in the past four years.
Baffert says it’s his responsibility to make sure Justify was perfect to race again in the fall but couldn’t promise that. Justify is expected to return to WinStar Farm in Kentucky next month.
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.
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.