It’s official – 136 years in, the Apollo Curse of the Kentucky Derby has been broken! Nearly 3 inches of rain and accompanying mud didn’t slow down favorite Justify and his jockey Mike Smith, who finished the 1.25-mile race at 2:04.20, beating Good Magic by 2 ½ lengths. The 3-year-old shattered the assumption that a colt who was not competitive during their second year couldn’t win the Kentucky Derby, becoming the second pony to do so in the 144 years of the Kentucky Derby and thereby lifting the curse.
Congratulations as well to the team behind Justify, jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert. This is the second time Smith has ridden atop the rose-winner, previously winning on long shot Giacomo in 2005. Trainer Baffert has developed a solid reputation for Derby winners, with Justify being the fifth horse he’s trained that has won. If Justify continues the performance shown at Churchill Downs when he gets to Preakness Stakes, Baffert could well be on his way to having two Triple Crown winners under his belt!