With Bob Baffert watching, Justify went for his final gallop before the Belmont Stakes on Friday morning. Everything went well, and Justify is ready for his next start.
The chestnut colt galloped 1 3/8 miles around Big Sandy with regular exercise rider Humberto Gomez aboard. Baffert said he is happy and relieved that all the prep work has been completed.
"We got the last gallop in, just another smooth, good day,'' said Baffert, who equipped Justify with ear plugs for the exercise.
"I'm glad we did, because when I saw that helicopter up there hovering over, I guess they wanted to watch him go around there,'' said Baffert. "He is just moving over the track really well. It's just amazing how he switched leads right on cue, comes down the lane. This is what a trainer hopes to see the day before his horse runs.
"Coming off the track he was just full of himself. He just seems like he's still improving. He looks like he's ready to run. I know he's going to show up and run his race, but he still has to get around there. The racing part is out of our control. I couldn't be happier with the way he looks. He looks no different than the way American Pharoah did coming in here. So we'll just have to see how it goes."
Although Justify won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness over sloppy tracks, Baffert said he likes the fact there's only a 20 percent chance of rain in the forecast.
"I prefer to see a fast track,'' said Baffert. "When the weather is involved, you have to ride him differently. Everything has to be in a hurry. You have to go so fast."
Nothing so far has seemed to bother Justify, bidding to join Seattle Slew as the only other horse to win the Triple Crown with an undefeated record.
"He's always been a big strong horse,'' said Baffert. "I brought a horse up here, Point Given. He's a big strong horse like him, and he seems to handle everything very well. He's a big muscled-up horse and he eats well. He thrives. He's really thriving now. He looks like he's getting really fit right now."
It will be a slow, quiet Saturday for Team Justify leading up to the race. The son of Scat Daddy will get his morning feed, be taken for a walk, and as it gets closer to the race, about four or five hours before the 6:46 p.m. post time, his hay and feed will be taken away.
"We just wait. It's a long day. You're thinking about everything,'' said Baffert. "He'll be nice and calm. We keep it really quiet. This horse has not shown me any signs of regression whatsoever. If he did, we would not have brought him up here. To me, it's important he is doing well. He's a very valuable and beautiful horse. The last thing we want to do is embarrass him. He just seems like he's getting better."
Edited NYRA release