Justify: Racing’s $75-Million Horse?

by | 06.10.2018 | 10:20am
Trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith with Triple Crown winner Justify, who will make an appearance at Santa Anita between Saturday's fourth and fifth races on a day with an early noon first post

ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell writes that Saturday's victory in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes pushed the value of Triple Crown winner Justify to an all-time record $75 million.

Rovell and the New York Times previously reported after the Preakness that an agreement was in place for the owners of Justify's breeding rights – WinStar Farm with 60 percent, China Horse Club with 25 percent, and George Soros' SF Bloodstock with 15 percent – to sell them to Coolmore Stud for $60 million with a $15-million accelerator if the son of Scat Daddy were to win the Belmont.

Justify scored a wire-to-wire triumph under Mike Smith in Saturday's Belmont, winning by 1 3/4 lengths to become racing's 13th Triple Crown winner and the second in four years for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Coolmore purchased breeding rights to the 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah from Zayat Stables late in the colt's 2-year-old season or early in his 3-year-old year. Coolmore's interest in American Pharoah was not disclosed until the Triple Crown.

Since the unbeaten Justify began his racing career in February, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains bought into Justify's racing rights only, including the 15 percent owned by SF Bloodstock.

WinStar Farm CEO Elliott Walden has denied that a deal has been made and the New York Times last week reported that it may not be official until September so that Justify's owners can take advantage of tax laws dealing with capital gains.

Rovell writes that Coolmore can put a higher value on Justify than other stud farms because it has the capacity to stand the superstar at both its Ashford Stud in Kentucky and in Australia during the Southern Hemisphere breeding season.

WinStar has stood some of its stallions in the Southern Hemisphere but does not own a stud farm in Australia.

The highest previous stallion deal, Rovell writes, was the $70 million Coolmore paid to acquire 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.

Read more at ESPN.com

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