This is a place for friendly and civil discussion of horse racing of all types including handicapping.
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I would really like somebody to explain the hype surrounding this horse to me. :) It seem many people are ready to just hand him the KY Derby win. LOL
IF the trainer wasn't Baffert, would anybody consider a horse who has not even run in an official derby prep yet, is totally untested, has not shown how he reacts to adversity or obstacles, and has not even shown that he "wants more distance" than the mile race he ran in.
In that short field, he ran against a horse who came in 7th in the Robert B. Lewis, one who was 6th in the Robert B. Lewis, a horse who ran 8th in the Camino Real Derby, and a horse who ran 5th and 6th in two other allowance races. :)
.if this was X horse with X trainer out of some midwestern track, an Apollo horse no less, but showed talented speed in an allowance race over a fast surface that was wet, in a super short field of only 5 horses ...........would anyone even be blinking an eye?
Is "Baffert likes him" what everyone is going on?
You make good points, Winter.....but I'll give a go at answering. Most of the horses who have been successful in the Derby the last 10 years have raced in big races, at known tracks, with notable Beyers. Justify fits that bill....yes, Apollo, but very fast races, trained by one of the most successful guys in Baffert. Would a horse trained by an unknown garner such attention? These days, a horse that shows great potential will often move to Pletcher or Baffert, once the owners realize what they have. So yes, it does matter that it is Baffert, and that he does believe in the horse. But he also believed in Ax Man, and that horse was unsuccessful in his follow up....it may happen to Just also.
I am rooting against for selfish reasons....I do not have a futures bet on him, and his price is ridiculous presently. I have several of the main contenders at excellent prices, and I don't want Justify to ruin my investment :)
But I too have a wait and see approach.....he could be like Arrogate, or he could be like Ax Man. Don't forget, Ax Man also won by 9+ lengths in his debut, but then was unsuccessful running back in a stakes race. Justify ran back in a short Alw, albeit quite fast and successfully....but let's see what he does on Saturday.
I was kind of surprised he came out on top of my list but he’s very fast. It remains to be seen how fast he’ll be at 9 furlongs but he’s gorgeous and big and red and fans are fickle but he certainly looks the part. Baffert and the connections are a part of it but I have to think also that part of it is dissatisfaction with the ones at the top of the leaderboard currently.
I haven’t really heard the hype because I’ve intentionally avoided all that this year but I still came out with him on top—for now, so imo maybe it’s justified? (Groan, I know lol). The Arkansas Derby should be a treat with him and MM facing off.
Very fast & makes everything look easy. With a horse like this, so lightly raced, it doesn't pay to get ahead of oneself.
At this point, given the evidence from 2 races and granting the clear talent, I'd say 90% hype. Now, if he wins the SA Derby & in the process beats a very tough Bolt D'Oro, who should be more race conditioned after the San Felipe...then, it's another story.
He'll go to Louisville as the favorite & we can try to beat him if we so choose.
Here's who Justify has to vanquish: (Alex Evers photo of Bolt working on 4/1/18. A tank with gears. )
This year we've seen Philadelphia claim two trophies with the Eagles and Villanova. We saw the first #16 seed beat a #1 seed. Maybe we finally see an "Apollo" win the derby. There's a couple that look capable; we're still a ways out but its been a strange year.
I have far less actual horse sense than just about anyone on here. However, I have been a fan for a long time, and have seen a lot of horses run. I depend heavily on the visual aspect. That's how I fell in love with horses like Lost In The Fog, Big Brown, Smarty Jones, Unique Bella, and others, long before they were challenged in stakes races against top tier company. I am not always right by any means; Stardivari and Social Inclusion, come to mind. However, some horses just jump out at me, and I am willing to go out on a limb and declare them, before they prove themselves. Both Magnum Moon and Justify have wowed me(more the latter than the former), and although I was firmly in Catholic Boy's camp, I still believed that these two would have had the best chance to break the Apollo curse were it not for the solid crop of which they have the misfortune to be a part. Still, they may be good enough.
I'm excited(Am I not always) about this year's TC. I think we will see some stellar races, with perhaps the best horse from overseas in a long time, scheduled to take part. The trainers have never been a major factor for me, as I have backed a lot of Pletcher horses over the years, even though I don't much care for him. I'm all about the horses! I think we may see something special this year, but I've been wrong before.
No doubt (and it could be this year as Justify may prove) the Apollo "curse" will be broken. In fact, as Crest often points out about how breeding practices have wrought so much homogenization, we'll have another maiden win The KD. (there have already been 3 winners who were) Nothing is written in stone.
On the hype side (and this is primarily due to the Baffert Effect) I've heard quite a few observers already comparing Justify to American Pharoah! Lunacy. Less crazy but still hype, that Justify will cakewalk the Santa Anita Derby.
I agree also that it's a strange year & as the Derby approaches even with major preps to be run, I'm finding the trip quite interesting so far. I hope all the favorites win! (until the Derby)
SameSteve G said...I hope all the favorites win! (until the Derby)
As for Justify, compare to Khozan (BSF of 103, a higher rating than the best performances by the Eclipse Award champ of his generation, American Pharoah---and he did it in his maiden of 14 horse field, in a pretty tough race, not against only 4 other horses who were losers in all their last races); When that one was retired early due to injury my heart sank. Who knows what could have happened.
Bayern, and Pulpit (108 Beyer @ 1-1/16th) may provide other examples.
While all may have come off of losses, the horses Justify beat in his first contest against winners, were not bad horses. Shivermetimber(defeated graded place Peace), Pepe Tone, and Calexman, all competed in stakes races. This shows that though they may not have run particularly well in those races, they were highly thought of based on their maiden wins. Yet, Justify dispatched them with ridiculous ease. I admit he may turn out to be another Officer, who looked like a world beater until the distances got longer, but the way he won at a mile with his jock like a statue, I wouldn't bet on it. If he fails on Saturday, it will more likely be because he was totally untested in his two races.