Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
In an interview Thursday with TVG’s Scott Hazelton, Coolmore’s Adrian Wallace said Justify has had about 400 visitors in the last few days, since the Breeders’ Cup as the industry’s focus shifts from racing to breeding in Kentucky.
Following sales of mares ready to breed, for instance, Grade 1 winners A Raving Beauty and Zipessa have been added to the colt’s book.
“He’s going to cover a really stellar book of mares in his first crop, and as he should,” Wallace told TVG. “A horse with these credentials, Triple Crown winner, it’s the holy grail of our sport. We’re very proud to have not only him but also American Pharoah.”
Pharoah, the 2015 Triple Crown champ, is currently in Australia for his second year shuttling for the Southern Hemisphere’s breeding season. The son of Pioneerof the Nile is already winning off the track with his yearlings fetching millions at sales.
Justify will get his own test in just more than a year when those first foals are born, then readied to sell or race.
Speaking of American Pharoah, Wallace said, “He’s a horse that, if you’re a human being, you’d remark that he’s like the Tom Brady of our sport. He’s good-looking. He’s good at everything he does. He’s the horse that, really, that Justify’s got to live up to.”
Wallace said Justify’s physical features stand out — his size, scope and bright eye — but so too does his attitude. “He’s taken everything in stride” since making the move from WinStar Farm, which raced the son of Scat Daddy in partnership, to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud.
“He’s a really intelligent horse,” Wallace said. “He’s interested in everything and everyone about him, and I think it’s no secret that that’s really why he was such a great horse.”
In a way, Justify isn’t quite done competing. He can earn one more major accolade if named Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards on Jan. 24.
Accelerate, the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner who prevailed in five Grade 1 races, represents the competition. Coolmore wins either way, as it stands Lookin At Lucky, Accelerate’s sire.
Still, it’s apparent which way the worldwide racing and breeding operation wants the choice to go. That’s in the direction of the big chestnut that won all six of his races in a brief but brilliant career.
“I think one thing we need to remember when we think about this is that, had American Pharoah not been around, there would be no debate,” Wallace said. “We wouldn’t be talking about this. The American Triple Crown is something that the whole bloodstock industry looks toward internationally and national. It is our holy grail.
“…It’s only been done 13 times. To do what he did, to run over those distances, those three different tracks, three remarkably different situations and track conditions, I think there should probably be no debate.”