Jimmy Barnes, assistant trainer to Bob Baffert, with Justify on the Churchill Downs backstretch June 11

Jimmy Barnes, assistant trainer to Bob Baffert, with Justify on the Churchill Downs backstretch June 11

Coady Photography

Triple Crown Winner Justify Returns to Churchill Downs

Justify is expected to stay at Churchill about a week before a return to Santa Anita.

Undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify returned to Churchill Downs in the early afternoon June 11. 

The colt's H.E. "Tex" Sutton Forwarding Company charter flight from MacArthur Airport in Islip, N.Y., departed a half-hour early at 11 a.m. EDT.

After landing at Louisville International Airport, Justify was loaded onto a van for a three-mile police escort to the backstretch of Churchill Downs. Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, groom Eduardo "Lalo" Luna, and exercise rider Humberto Gomez accompanied Justify on the van ride and flight.

Owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, and Starlight Racing and ridden by Mike Smith, Justify held off the late charge of Gronkowski to win the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) June 9 in Elmont, N.Y., by 1 3/4 lengths and became the 13th winner of racing's Triple Crown. His rare sweep included a 2 1/2-length victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and a hard-fought half-length win in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

In regards to when and where the colt will perform next, only time—and an expertly crafted plan from the now two-time Triple Crown trainer Bob Baffert—will tell.

"(Bob) will get Justify right, and then we'll make a plan," WinStar Farm president Elliott Walden said following the Belmont win. "We're looking forward to sharing him more. He's become a household name, and I'm looking forward to his next race as much as (everyone else)."

Justify is tentatively scheduled to return to his home base at Santa Anita Park in Southern California Sunday, June 17.