Justify — who made history as the 13th Triple Crown champion when he won the Belmont Stakes earlier this month — is set to parade Saturday before fans at his home base of Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.
The undefeated 3-year-old chestnut colt is expected to be brought from the barn area to Santa Anita’s paddock and then be walked out to the track for photos in the winners’ circle between the fourth and fifth races, which are scheduled for 1:30 and 2 p.m., respectively.
Jockey Mike Smith is expected to autograph posters with photos from Justify’s wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont for the first 4,000 fans between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. by the Kingsburry Fountain.
Justify’s name went into the record books as the latest Triple Crown winner less than four months after his first race.
His racing career was launched Feb. 18 with a 9 1/2-length win at Santa Anita, followed by victories in two other races at the Arcadia race track, including the Santa Anita Derby April 7, before the three Triple Crown races.
Justify has made nearly $3.8 million in six starts for his connections, who have yet to announce future plans for the colt.
“To win six races in such a short amount of time like he’s just done is an unbelievable feat on his part,” Smith said after the Belmont, which Justify won by 1 3/4 lengths over 24-1 longshot Gronkowski.
Justify is just the second undefeated horse to win the Triple Crown, joining Seattle Slew who did it in 1977.
Trainer Bob Baffert — the second trainer to win the Triple Crown twice — called it “a privilege to have a horse like this.”
“I wanted to see that horse, his name up there with those greats. If they’re great, they’re going to win the Triple Crown. It takes a great horse to win the Triple Crown,” the trainer said after Justify’s Triple Crown win.
Baffert also trained the last Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, who paraded before fans at Santa Anita in 2015 after becoming the first horse in nearly four decades to capture the Triple Crown.
“It never gets old,” Baffert said before the Belmont. “I was so blessed that I had American Pharoah. When he retired, I’ll never forget how sad I was. I said, `Wow, I’ll never have another horse like that.’ Then here comes Arrogate (who had a seven-race win streak that included wins in three of the world’s richest thoroughbred horse races) and he’s gone (to become a stallion) … Boom, here comes Justify. I just hope this keeps on going.”