“It was sensitive there,” Baffert said. “It’s like a diaper rash, what he’s got. He looked great today.”
Justify seemed to favor his left hind leg when Baffert brought him out of the barn Sunday morning for fans and media after his 2½-length victory at Churchill Downs.
But Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s chief assistant who is overseeing Justify’s care in Louisville, Ky., reported that “all was good” with the undefeated colt, who had his second walk day Monday and likely will have two more before returning to the track.
“He did not run down. They call them scratches or whatever,” Baffert said. “He’s had it before. You get it from wet [tracks] and you have to soften it up. It can be irritating. When he stepped on those rocks [outside the barn], it bit him. That’s why he did that. Because he was fine in the morning, and today he was fine.”
Baffert said Justify’s condition has improved over the past two days, and he’s responding to treatment. Justify’s scheduled to ship from Churchill Downs to Pimlico Race Course in the middle of next week.
Tenfold ‘probable’ for Preakness
Trainer Steve Asmussen said Monday that Tenfold is “probable” for the Preakness.
Tenfold, a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, was fifth in the Arkansas Derby and won his first two races at Oaklawn Park. Tenfold worked five-eighths of a mile in 1 minute, 0.20 of a second Monday morning at Churchill Downs, the seventh fastest of 23 at the distance.
“He’s a very nice horse that is getting better,” Asmussen said. “I liked his work a lot today. We’re expecting big things from him. I was a touch disappointed [in his Arkansas Derby]. He’s better than that.”
Quip pointed toward Preakness
Trainer Rodolphe Brisset continues to prepare Tampa Bay Derby winner and Arkansas Derby runner-up Quip for the Preakness.
Quip’s owners, WinStar Farm and China Horse Club International, also own Justify.
Elliott Walden, president of co-owner WinStar Farm, said Sunday that a final decision had yet to be made about Quip but added: “My first inclination is to go ahead and run him, but we need to talk to our partners and see. But we’d set the horse up to run in the Preakness and he worked very well on Thursday. If Justify is supposed to win the Triple Crown, he’ll beat Quip. I just think you try to manage your horses the best you can, and that it’s the right thing for Quip.”
Florent Geroux is Quip’s regular rider. Quip worked a half-mile in 48 seconds Thursday at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., second fastest of 28 moves at the distance. Brisset said that, pending weather, the son of Distorted Humor will get a final Preakness work Sunday. He is scheduled to fly to Baltimore on May 15 or 16.
“We got the horse set up to run in the Preakness,” Brisset said. “Like Elliott said, they like to do the right thing by the horse. We all agreed the Preakness was the best shot for Quip. We did talk that it didn’t matter who won the Derby, that we would be pointing him to the Preakness.”
Brisset, who has trained on his own for a year after being an assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott, said it wasn’t hard to pass on the Kentucky Derby.
“It was an easy decision for a couple of reasons,” he said. “The horse was showing us that he didn’t want to run back in three weeks. That was the first reason. The second reason was the fact that WinStar had three other horses in the Derby. I was leaning to where I’d pass, and it was easy for them to give me the green light and say, ‘That’s fine, if you feel like the horse needs more time.’ We talk and work as a team with Elliott and all the ownership. It’s not like I’m 70 years old and been at it 40 years and never had one [Derby horse]. Hopefully, I’ll have another one.
“But it’s horse-first for us. I have too much respect for Quip. He put us on the map. It’s pretty amazing we were lucky enough to have him. It’s a fun ride, and still a fun ride. A classic is a classic. There’s nothing wrong about running in the Preakness with a shot. … I was very happy he was in the stall when I saw all that rain and mud [for the Derby]. We have a horse that will come back fresh. He worked very good last week, and I wouldn’t trade my place.”
More Preakness possibilities
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is expected to enter both Bravazo (sixth in the Kentucky Derby) and Sporting Chance in a quest for his seventh Preakness win.
Trainer John Servis, who saddled Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones for a victory in the 2004 Preakness, will return with Federico Tesio winner Diamond King. Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic is also under Preakness consideration.
Trainer Tom Amoss said Louisiana Derby runner-up Lone Sailor (eighth in the Kentucky Derby) is also a possible candidate for the May 19 race, but that no decision has been made.
“We’ll see how he trains and make a decision off of that,” he said. “Whether it should be the Preakness or something else, I don’t know. [The Preakness] is not out of the question.”