"Thank you, sir, May I have another"
Every good soldier who endures, and lives through boot camp is winner. You don't make it through boot camp you don't become a soldier.
Every good horse and handicapper has to be tested, pressed, prodded and the good ones respond like a winner.
Justify went through the Baffert boot camp, handled it, and gave more each and every time.
I didn't know what to do with the colt in February and even through March. I know how much Baffert asks of his horses, I watched it for 25 plus years in California. I watched horses like Silver Charm, Real Quiet, General Challenge, Congaree, to name a few, American Pharaoh, Arrogate, West Coast and now Justify being the latest.
Baffert is not easy on horses, and he demands excellence as well as speed and durability. Baffert has to have a horse with an exo-skeleton that can handle the pounding, the pressure. To make a good horse, a horse has to have bone, and bone density, no bone, no bone density, no horse.
Justify, handled all Baffert threw at him and gave more. I can't wait to see him train up to the Belmont Stakes, as I will be in Kentucky all the way through his preparations.
As soon as the horses crossed the finish line, every Tom, Dick and Harry with a racing twitter feed was chiming in. Everything from 'he has a tired eye' to 'he was tiring in the stretch' and even immediately after the wire NBC's Randy Moss, "American Pharaoh was far more impressive". I was a bit disappointed in the knee jerk reaction from Moss.
American Pharaoh didn't duel the two-year-old champion put him away in the stretch and held all off. In fact, Pharaoh beat a maiden winner who had earned his diploma three weeks before in the Preakness. Justify beat real horses, but horse players are horse players for a reason, they want to gamble.
A host of horseplayers will want to gamble against Justify and that's their prerogative, their call, but to ink it three weeks before is, in my opinion, is a premature exclamation.
Handicapping and gambling, to me, is an investment in all the information available as close to post time as possible. For example, the field, the conditions, the pace, and most important our own #withtheworks exclusive info is the KEY.
In my eyes, my decision, whether to even play the Belmont Stakes will rely on what my eyes and experience tell me about how Justify exits and progresses physically into the Belmont.
Prior to the Preakness we only needed to see his May14th gallop at Churchill Downs, we document our observations into an 4 star gallop/work showing healthy movement and soundness. We didn't have to see much more, we knew he would roll. He did, conditions and all and beating a pretty good horse in Good Magic and as we did in the Blake Eyed Susan we cold cocked the EXA after making a case against 2nd choice Good Magic as well.
For the next three weeks, and knowing how Baffert does things, we know he will not the let the foot off the pedal with Justify. He will have two works and they will not be the 50 or 102 variety. They will Baffert style works. He will be stabled at Churchill Downs, staying away from the mad house and big sandy track at Belmont until he has to.
Baffert gets it and that's what horseplayers sometimes don't. Baffert does what he does best and follows his gut, follow his intuition, he has been right many times before. He knows his horses. Justify will show, whether he can handle it or not as Baffert horses show you in the morning what they are made of. Good horseplayers like a good trainer, wait for the horses to show them.
We will be there, as we will be there all the way to early July before we ship to Saratoga. we have some aces up our sleeves this year, of which we will play out as the summer goes on into my favorite time of the year and meet, The Spa.
I am super excited this year to bring a new dimension to our Saratoga product.
The name of the game is information that separates the gambler from the horseplayer. The real horseplayer is patient, and sees all the variables in front of them, and doesn't want to bet, he lets the horse tout themselves warranting a bet. That's discipline.
To make money one has to be disciplined, and Justify, his or hers wagering decisions based on the information laid out in front of them. Win or lose, the horseplayer has to have the constitution to stand up and say, 'thank you sir, may I have another,'' that's how you Justify a winner.
P.S. join us through Churchill and into Saratoga. I know what kind of information we are gathering and I know I won't be disappointed this summer.
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