Favorite Justify finishes first at Kentucky Derby on wettest race day

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3 - Jim Fitzsimmons (1930-57, 11-3-1-0) - 1930 Gallant Fox, 1935 Omaha, 1939 Johnstown.

While Justify was the star Saturday, Baffert should take a well-deserve bow.

According to NBC Sports, those who correctly picked the top four finishers of the Kentucky Derby won $19,618.20 on a $1 bet.

Reasons to be wary: If Justify is to win, he'll have to break the "Curse of Apollo" to do it. Three years ago, he trained American Pharoah to the first sweep of the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 37 years.

Records and streaks are made to be a broken and Baffert is certainly on a tear. That snapped a tie and left the 65-year-old coach monitoring only Ben Jones with all six.

Justify is just as impressive.

"Going into the race, my main concern really was just getting out of the gate", said Smith, who captured his second Derby. Bill Shoemaker was 54 when he won with Ferdinand in 1986.

"There's no telling what this horse can do", Smith said.

"He's got that "it" factor", Smith said. "He has got the mind for it". He was loving this stuff.

Smith's silks were almost spotless after he kept 5-2 favorite Justify near the lead throughout the race. Afterwards, Baffert said Justify is like having LeBron on your team. He asked Baffert to take his time with him. Then to attend a pace that fast for that far going a mile and a quarter, which a lot of people questioned he was capable of.

"It was an unbelievable performance by the victor, on this track, going that fast", Derby trainer Dale Romans said. "He's a super horse".

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Justify paid $7.80, $6 and $4.40.

"He just put himself up there with the greats", Baffert said. Good Magic came in second and Audible came in third.

After seven years with Lukas, Pletcher went out on his own as a trainer at the end of 1995. When the two horses were engaged in the stretch run, it appeared that Good Magic was making up ground and might be able to engage Justify and pass him, but the victor just steamrolled on ahead and put the runner-up away. Good Magic jockey Jose Ortiz found some trouble early in the race and was forced to go around Bolt d'Oro, losing ground to the eventual victor. The horse who won the UAE Derby in Dubai by 18 1/2 lengths and was highly thought of coming into the Derby got slammed badly at the start and ended up at the back of the pack.

"To come here and do it on a day with this weather, I wasn't feeling great about it", Baffert said. "He has that presence about him".

Brown called his quest to win his first Derby "a work in progress".

It's on to Pimlico in two weeks for the second jewel of racing's Triple Crown, where the distance is a sixteenth-of-a-mile shorter than the Derby and where Justify will be the heavy favorite.

Trainer Chad Brown was looking for his first Derby with the 2-year-old champion and gave credit to his jockey for holding on for second place. Sign me up for the next four Derbies if things can go this smoothly.

Victory earned Justify $1,432,000 and increased his earnings to $2,098,000. They bought Justify for $500,000. This year's was pushed up slightly because of Instilled Regard's strong finish in fourth place, who closed at 85-1 odds. Lone Sailor was eighth, followed by Vino Rosso, Solomini, Firenze Fire, Bolt d'Oro, Flameaway, Enticed, Promises Fulfilled, Free Drop Billy, Noble Indy, Combatant and Magnum Moon. Entry into the Kentucky Derby is based on a points system, which essentially meant that Justify had one shot to get onto the board. The $3 million purchase was beaten by 73¼ lengths for Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien. Then the race started.

On a grey, sloppy day at Churchill on Saturday, though, when it rained, it poured Starlight.

Just not in Louisville, Ky., where this year Cinco de Mayo fell on Kentucky Derby Day.

At 5:52, the 144th Kentucky Derby field broke from the gate and saying Smith rode a smart race would be like saying Einstein was good at math.

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