McKinzie was one of the stars at the season preps with this year’s Kentucky Derby although three wins in four starts, but ended up missing the and the Triple Crown Period
Marquee summer races following a leg injury in the spring.
While his stablemate carried the banner for Hall of Fame coach Bob Baffert and proceeded to become the 13 th winner of this elusive Triple Crownsat on the sidelines,
But he is now ready to resume top 3-year-old’s role from the Baffert barn that Justify is retired.
He made a powerful case for this if he won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 22 by 1 3/4 lengths in his first race in six weeks.
“If anything could be removed from a sting of a Triple Crown horse retiring, it’s a horse in this way,” said Mike Smith, who also rode Justify, after the Pennsylvania Derby. “He is an
Incredible horse. Really proud of him. Bob [trainer Bob Baffert] had him ready. Bob is a trainer to come off the seat at a mile and an eighth. I felt very confident that I could be competitive early and proceed a little ancient.”
“He was training really well,” Baffert added after the race. “I always felt as though he had been the most effective 3-year-old and he got hurt and Justify picked this up. He has come back with the time off and has responded really well. It was good to see him get back into the game. It was a pretty tall order to go 1??1/8 miles. But it is possible to do it with horses. I believed we had him tight. I thought we had him tight as though that he was the horse I felt. In the event that you had asked me on January 1, I would have told you we were going to win the Kentucky Derby with this horse.”
The colt, a $170,000 buy at Keeneland’s 2016 September Sale, was named a executive at Los Alamitos Race Course who, for Baffert’s longtime friend, the Brad McKinzie Died is August 2017.
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