Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
By this point in his Triple Crown-winning season, American Pharoah had resumed working out with aim at the Haskell Invitational, a race he went on to win. But trainer Bob Baffert is taking it easier with Justify off that colt’s sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
The Hall of Fame conditioner told the Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen on Wednesday that, “I’m just chilling with him,” walking Justify one day and galloping the next.
Neither a workout schedule nor next race plans are set for the unbeaten son of Scat Daddy, who of course didn’t make his career debut until February.
The July 29 Haskell Invitational is coming up quickly for a horse with no works. Saratoga’s Aug. 25 Travers Stakes, which Baffert has won in consecutive years, is the next logical spot after that. From there, connections could decide on a race such as the Sept. 22 Pennsylvania Derby; face older horses; or train straight up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.
Along the way, tracks are sure to up the ante with purse hikes and incentives to lure Justify. Hanging over the remaining 3-year-old campaign is a reported $75 million deal with Coolmore, which also stood Scat Daddy before his sudden death and is looking to acquire his top offspring for breeding.