Bob Baffert's freakish first-time maiden winner Justify, who crushed four rivals by 9 1/2 lengths going seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Feb. 18, has been entered in Sunday's fifth race at the Arcadia, Calif., track, a first condition allowance for 3-year-olds at one mile.
Ridden in his debut by Drayden Van Dyke, he'll get the services of Mike Smith on Sunday as Baffert plots a route to the Run for the Roses May 5. Justify, a physical specimen by any accounting, drew the far outside in a field of eight and will no doubt be a short-priced favorite.
Owned by WinStar Farm, LLC, China Horse Club, LLC and SF Racing, LLC, Justify has already attracted significant Kentucky Derby future book action in Nevada, with one property offering him at 16-1. A Kentucky-bred colt by Scat Daddy out of the Ghostzapper mare, Stage Magic, Justify has dazzled morning onlookers since the maiden win.
Baffert has worked the $500,000 Keeneland September yearling sale graduate twice since his first-out score, five furlongs in 1:01.40 on Feb. 26 and another five this past Monday in 1:00.80, which ranked 31st of 114 drills at the distance.
Although plans beyond Sunday are undetermined and the colt has zero qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, Justify could stay home and run in the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 7.
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