Justify trains May 27 at Churchill Downs

Justify trains May 27 at Churchill Downs

Coady Photography

Justify Gallops Through the Mud at Churchill Downs

Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Monomoy Girl also breezed in the afternoon Sunday.

After a heavy downpour overnight in Louisville, trainer Bob Baffert's assistant Jimmy Barnes slightly adjusted plans for undefeated Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Justify May 27 at Churchill Downs as the colt continued his training for the June 9 Belmont Stakes (G1) with a 1 1/8-mile gallop under exercise rider Humberto Gomez.

"With the mud, we just jogged him straight off to begin his training," Barnes said. "He then galloped about 1 1/8 miles but did everything well. We just didn't want to do too much with him over the track condition."


Baffert is expected to return to Churchill May 28 to watch Justify train.

The Scat Daddy colt is no stranger to running in the mud. He won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness over a sloppy surface and scored an optional-claiming allowance March 11 over a muddy track at Santa Anita Park.

"He's very good on a dry track as well, but unfortunately we've just been catching wet surfaces," Barnes said. "I've seen him run on a dry surface, and I definitely like what I saw."

Also training Sunday during the 7:30-7:40 a.m. EDT training window for horses preparing for the Belmont were Preakness runner-up Bravazo, who jogged two miles with exercise rider Danielle Rosier aboard for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, and Preakness third Tenfold, who galloped about 1 3/8 miles with Angel Garcia for fellow trainer Steve Asmussen.

Other possible Belmont entrants based at Churchill are Albaugh Family Stables' Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) winner Free Drop Billy, who is scheduled to breeze Monday morning, and Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G2) third Restoring Hope, who could breeze Monday or Tuesday while Baffert is in town.

Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Monomoy Girl was scheduled to breeze Sunday at 7:30 a.m. at Churchill, but because of the wet track, the multiple grade 1 winner was permitted to work five furlongs in :59 2/5 over a fast surface at 12:15 p.m., prior to the first race.


With regular rider Florent Geroux aboard, the Brad Cox-trained daughter of Tapizar  breezed in company with stablemate Dazzling Gem through splits of :13, :25, :36 3/5, and :48 2/5 before she galloped out to six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 and to seven in 1:26 2/5. She is pointing to the June 9 Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.

"It was a really solid work," Cox said. "It was exactly what we were looking for. We really wanted to keep her on a schedule, with 13 days out from the race. We could've breezed her on the mud this morning, but it would've been more of a maintenance work, and I wanted to do something a little more with her. The track was better this afternoon, and she did it the right way. If she can keep putting things together in the afternoon, as she does in the morning training, she'll be tough in the Acorn."

"The horse she breezed with is pretty nice," Geroux said. "She did everything really well and worked easy. She got by (Dazzling Gem) with no problem and galloped out well."