Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Justify galloped 1 1/2 miles May 26 at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Humberto Gomez in the saddle, as the undefeated colt continued his preparations for the June 9 Belmont Stakes (G1).
"I couldn't be happier with the way things are going," said Jimmy Barnes, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. "Once again Bob told me to take it easy with him, but he's doing really well. We backed him up a little farther in the stretch to begin his gallop this morning and went a good 1 1/2 miles."
Baffert is expected to return to Churchill Downs May 28 to watch Justify train.
Barnes, 58, has worked as Baffert's assistant for nearly 20 years and oversees the development of the barn's top horses, including Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and champion Arrogate when they were in training.
"You have to get Bob a lot of credit," Barnes said. "He's stocked the pond well every year. You have to have the horse and the horsepower to compete in these classic races. We keep coming up with them and are very lucky. You do have to pinch yourself, because you don't know if you will have it every year.
Also training Saturday during the 7:30-7:40 a.m. ET training window restricted to Belmont horses were Preakness runner-up Bravazo, who galloped 1 1/2 miles with exercise rider Danielle Rosier aboard for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, and Preakness third-place finisher Tenfold, who galloped about 1 1/2 miles with Angel Garcia for fellow Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen.
Other Belmont Stakes possible contenders based at Churchill Downs are Albaugh Family Stables' Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) winner Free Drop Billy and Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G1) third-place finisher Restoring Hope.
Free Drop Billy is scheduled to breeze May 27 and his Belmont Stakes status could be determined after the work, according to trainer Dale Romans. Restoring Hope could breeze while Baffert is at Churchill Downs Monday or May 29, according to Barnes.