Undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify will be evaluated after some filling in his left front fetlock was discovered, his connections have announced.
"Justify had some filling in his left front ankle a week ago, which subsided in a couple days," Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. "I trained him last week and the filling came back. We want to get him checked out."
Justify did not train in the latter part of last week but had been in full training at Santa Anita Park preparing for a late summer campaign for owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, and Starlight Racing. The Scat Daddy colt will remain in California for the evaluation, according to WinStar president, chief executive and racing manager Elliott Walden.
"He'll stay there with Bob and see what he can figure out, and see if the ankle goes down," Walden said.
Justify returned to California on June 17, just over a week after he completed his historic sweep with a length-and-three-quarter victory in the Belmont Stakes. That win completed an unprecedented 112-day journey for the chestnut colt, which saw him go from maiden winner to just the 13th horse to sweep the American Classics.
After prevailing on his debut at Santa Anita, Justify won an allowance test three weeks later before defeating multiple Grade 1 winner Bolt d'Oro by three lengths in the Santa Anita Derby. When he turned back champion Good Magic by two and a half lengths in the Kentucky Derby he became the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to take the first leg of the Triple Crown without having raced as a two-year-old.
Though he had to fight that rival again and then hold off a late run from Bravazo during his half-length win in the Preakness Stakes, Justify came into the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes in exceptional form and led all the way en route to joining 2015 Triple Crown winner and former fellow Baffert trainee American Pharoah in the history books. Bred by John D Gunther, Justify has earned $3,798,000 from his six starts to date.
"To go from a maiden winner in February to an undefeated Triple Crown winner in June has been an incredible ride," Walden said in a release.
"He is too special to the owners, our team, and all the fans he has around the world to not be 100 per cent healthy. As far as any future plans for him, they will be decided after we get him checked out. He is an amazing horse, and we are blessed by his presence."