Of all sports, horse racing is the only one that sees its best bow out at their peak. There are, of
course, some very good reasons for this. In fact, there are usually millions – tens of millions – of
reasons to get a winning male horse off the track and into the stud. At the moment, that’s the
question facing the owners (there are several with a stake in the horse) of the latest winner of the
Triple Crown, Justify.
The 3-year-old is expected to earn up to $100 million from stud fees, so it is more than
understandable that they would want to take advantage now. Mating season is usually spring in the
USA, but plenty of horses are taken to Australia for their mating season in the fall.
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC
Justify six from six in short career
Justify can, of course, still earn plenty of money on the track. He has earned just shy of $4 million in his short career (he didn’t race as a 2-year-old and had his maiden in February), but that pales in comparison to the guaranteed money made at the stud.
The expected route for Justify is to go into The Travers Stakes August and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in October. He leads the betting in both, coming in around 8/11 for the Travers and 2/1 for Breeders’ with several sportsbooks.
American Pharoah had similar path
That’s a similar route to the one taken by American Pharoah, although the 2015 Triple Crown winner also ran in – and won – the Haskells Invitational Stakes. It would see Justify retire with plenty of time to get ready for the spring mating season, possibly with a perfect eight from eight record in his career.
But, what if he kept on racing? Affirmed, the last horse to win the Triple Crown before Justify and American Pharoah, raced as a 4-year-old and, indeed, was named Horse of the Year after winning seven of his nine starts.
Pegasus World Cup is an option
In modern racing, there is plenty of incentive to keep on going next year. As the world’s richest race, the Pegasus World Cup could obviously be a money spinner for Justify’s owners. There is also the Dubai World Cup, complete with its purse of $10 million. Some sportsbooks have put Justify in the markets for that one, coming in at around 4/1.
But, there are other considerations away from the money side of things. 2018 is the year when Wynx, a fantastic 6-year-old mare from Australia, broke the world record for the winning the most Group 1 races (17, which beat John Henry’s long-standing record of 16).
Justify could outstrip modern rivals
Wynx is still going, trying to keep her 25-race win streak alive and has an eye on winning her 4th Cox Plate in October. That’s not to say that we should still be seeing Justify racing as a 6-year-old, it’s more about the fact that history does not really remember how much a horse earned in stud fees. If Justify is still at the top of his game, why not race him? Why not let the rest of the world see him in action?
Money speaks volumes in racing and everything connected with it. But it’s not the reason that fans fall in love with the sport. Seeing horses like Justify break records is.