By Mint Julep

Kentucky Derby Winner 2018 Justify

kentucky derby winner 2018 justify

Discover the incredible story of a famous racehorse who overcame all odds to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby. Experience Justify’s journey from his first race in February 2018 to his thrilling victory with trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith, securing a place in horse racing history with an unforgettable performance at Churchill Downs on a rainy day.

Background and Introduction to Justify

Justify, a remarkable Thoroughbred born on March 28, 2015, not only won the hearts of horse racing fans but also made history in the sport with his exceptional talent. By skipping his second year and debuting as a three-year-old in February 2018, he stood out from the usual Derby contenders. The excitement surrounding this chestnut colt was electric as he dominated each race leading up to the main event at Churchill Downs.

The choice to enter Justify into the Kentucky Derby without any past experience as a two-year-old raised eyebrows among critics and fans alike. However, it was this unconventional path that added mystery and thrill to his journey towards success. With legendary trainer Bob Baffert guiding him every step of the way, Justify displayed unmatched potential and natural ability that amazed spectators.

As Justify raced down the homestretch at Churchill Downs during that memorable Kentucky Derby in May 2018, he not just secured victory but also shattered long-held beliefs about winning “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports.” His strong presence on track coupled with an innate sense of timing and speed propelled him to triumph against experienced competitors who had years of practice under their belts.

Watching Justify’s rapid ascent from obscurity to fame in horse racing served as a powerful reminder that true champions are built through challenges and bold risks. His tale represents resilience, determination, and unwavering confidence despite facing overwhelming odds along the way. As viewers cheered enthusiastically for this extraordinary athlete charging towards destiny under jockey Mike Smith’s expert guidance, they couldn’t help but marvel at how fate crafted such an unforgettable moment on prestigious grounds.

Looking back now at Justify’s triumphant win at the 2018 Kentucky Derby stands not only as proof of his outstanding skills but also serves as inspiration for dreamers everywhere – reminding us all that sometimes taking unexplored paths can lead us to greatness beyond our wildest imaginations. The echoes of those thundering hooves crossing the finish line resonate through time immortalizing Justify as more than just another racehorse; he is a legend whose heritage will endure for generations yet unborn.

Road to the Kentucky Derby

Justify’s road to the Kentucky Derby was truly remarkable. Despite not racing at age two, this talented colt burst onto the scene with sheer dominance. He quickly made his mark by winning key races like the Santa Anita Derby, proving himself as a formidable competitor on the track.

The journey to the Kentucky Derby is known for its challenges and uncertainties, yet Justify showed no signs of being daunted by any obstacles in his path. His impressive speed and stamina set him apart from his rivals, highlighting his innate talent and unwavering determination. The way he handled each race leading up to the Derby showcased a level of maturity that defied his limited experience.

Earning a spot in the prestigious Kentucky Derby based on points accumulated through qualifying races was just one milestone in Justify’s rapid ascent to stardom. Under the guidance of Bob Baffert, an acclaimed trainer renowned for working with top-notch horses, Justify underwent rigorous training that honed his abilities and readied him for the ultimate challenge at Churchill Downs.

As fans eagerly anticipated Justify’s debut at Churchill Downs during that memorable Saturday afternoon in May 2018, there was palpable excitement surrounding this undefeated colt. The energy at the track was electric as spectators witnessed history unfolding before their eyes when Justify triumphantly crossed over the finish line – securing a place for himself among horse racing legends forevermore.

The Pros & Cons of Triple Crown Victories


  1. Gaining prestige and being recognized in the horse racing community

  2. The winning horse becoming more valuable and sought after

  3. Jockey and trainer receiving more sponsorships and endorsements

  4. Making history that solidifies the legacy of the horse


  1. Feeling immense pressure to excel in important races with high rewards

  2. Facing the possibility of getting hurt or tired from taking part in several races closely scheduled together

  3. Dealing with media attention and invasion of personal space for the horse, jockey, and trainer

  4. Being required to sustain top performance levels during the entirety of the Triple Crown series

Trainer and Jockey

Justify, a horse trained by the famous Bob Baffert, who is well-known for his remarkable achievements in horse racing, had an incredible journey to victory. Jockey Mike Smith, with his vast experience and strong bond with horses, teamed up with Justify during the historic Kentucky Derby.

Under Bob Baffert’s guidance, Justify achieved an extraordinary win at Churchill Downs despite not having raced as a two-year-old. The pair showed exceptional skill and determination on that memorable day in May 2018 when they made history. Mike Smith’s expert handling of Justify highlighted their seamless connection and trust on one of the most prestigious stages in horse racing.

The strategic brilliance of Bob Baffert combined with Mike Smith’s finesse in guiding Justify through unfamiliar territory cemented their status as legends in the sport. Their synchronized efforts led to a triumph that will be remembered for years to come—an example of teamwork between trainer, jockey, and horse at the renowned Kentucky Derby grounds.

Historic Victory at the Kentucky Derby

Justify’s win at the 2018 Kentucky Derby is truly remarkable. Picture overcoming odds that date back to the late 1800s, achieving feats from a time when Queen Victoria ruled! Winning such a prestigious race without competing as a two-year-old is like hitting a hole-in-one blindfolded – incredibly rare and impressive. Justify didn’t just win; he dominated with style, leaving onlookers amazed by his sheer strength and determination.

The powerful sound of Justify’s hooves echoed through Churchill Downs, cementing his name in history alongside Apollo from over one hundred years ago. His finishing time of 2:04.20 felt like mere moments to those caught up in the whirlwind of excitement and amazement at witnessing such an exceptional performance. It’s akin to watching David defeat Goliath but set against a backdrop where speed, endurance, and elegance reign supreme – truly thrilling for anyone who appreciates athletic excellence transcending generations.

This victory isn’t only about winning a race; it represents resilience, persistence, and unwavering confidence in defying traditional beliefs. Justify’s journey serves as inspiration not just for horse racing fans but also for anyone who dares to dream big despite overwhelming odds. Like seeing a phoenix rise above challenges or Cinderella finding her perfect fit with ease – Justify embodies the spirit of triumphing over adversity gracefully that captivates audiences worldwide while galloping towards greatness on that memorable day at Churchill Downs.”

Dramatic Derby Showdown: Top Finishers Revealed!

Finish Program Number Horse Jockey Trainer Qualifying Points Morning Line Odds Final Odds Margin (Lengths) Winnings
1 7 Justify Mike Smith Bob Baffert 100 3-1 2.90 $1,432,000
2 6 Good Magic José Ortiz Chad Brown 134 12-1 9.70 2+1/2 $400,000
3 5 Audible Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher 110 8-1 7.00 2+1/2 $200,000
4 15 Instilled Regard Drayden Van Dyke Jerry Hollendorfer 29 50-1 85.10 4+1/4 $100,000
5 10 My Boy Jack Kent Desormeaux J. Keith Desormeaux 52 20-1 6.70 7 $60,000
6 13 Bravazo Luis Contreras D. Wayne Lukas 54 50-1 66.90 8
7 9 Hofburg Irad Ortiz Jr. Bill Mott 40 20-1 27.00 8+3/4
8 8 Lone Sailor James Graham Thomas Amoss 42 50-1 24.50 9+1/4
9 18 Vino Rosso John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 107 12-1 14.10 10+1/2
10 17 Solomini Flavien Prat Bob Baffert 54 30-1 62.90 11
11 1 Firenze Fire Paco Lopez Jason Servis 39 50-1 59.70 23+1/2
12 11 Bolt d’Oro Victor Espinoza Mick Ruis 104 8-1 8.90 24+1/4
13 4 Flameaway Jose Lezcano Mark Casse 70 30-1 37.50 30+1/2
14 12 Enticed Junior Alvarado Kiaran McLaughlin 103 30-1 50.30 34+3/4
15 3 Promises Fulfilled Corey Lanerie Dale Romans 52 30-1 49.00 39+3/4
16 2 Free Drop Billy Robby Albarado Dale Romans 44 30-1 45.40 41
17 19 Noble Indy Florent Geroux Todd Pletcher 110 30-1 59.20 42+1/4
18 20 Combatant Ricardo Santana Jr. Steve Asmussen 32 50-1 70.60 42+3/4
19 16 Magnum Moon Luis Saez Todd Pletcher 150 6-1 13.70 49+1/2
20 14 Mendelssohn Ryan Moore Aidan O’Brien 100 5-1 6.80 73+1/4

Field and Competition

Justify’s incredible win at the 2018 Kentucky Derby showcased his amazing talent and unwavering determination. He went head-to-head with tough competitors like Good Magic, Audible, Magnum Moon, and Mendelssohn, making his journey to victory even more challenging. Each horse brought their own strengths to the race, creating an intense competition that kept fans on the edge of their seats.

The Kentucky Derby is known for its fierce competition, but Justify’s triumph was truly exceptional. What made it even more impressive was that he didn’t compete as a two-year-old. This unconventional approach highlighted Justify’s remarkable skills as a racehorse.

While Good Magic had gained attention before the race as a strong contender with notable performances in previous events, Justify proved himself by surpassing these rivals with sheer skill and speed on that memorable day at Churchill Downs.

Audible also put up a good fight; however, his best efforts weren’t enough to match Justify’s incredible pace towards victory at America’s most famous racetrack!

Race Description and Conditions

The rainy setting of the 2018 Kentucky Derby presented an additional challenge to the already tough race. Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, Justify showed impressive determination and powered through with ease. The track being labeled as “sloppy” didn’t hinder this exceptional colt as he raced towards victory.

With jockey Mike Smith skillfully guiding Justify through the rain-soaked track, spectators were amazed by their seamless teamwork. Each stride taken by this remarkable pair demonstrated purpose and grace that set them apart from other competitors. It was a breathtaking sight – a perfect blend of human expertise and horse power working in harmony.

Justify’s win at Churchill Downs not only marked his debut on a sloppy track but also confirmed his status among racing greats. Winning such a prestigious event without competing as a two-year-old is truly extraordinary – it challenges conventional wisdom and showcases Justify’s natural talent and strong determination. That day wasn’t just about winning; it was about breaking boundaries and inspiring all who witnessed his historic achievement.

In future years, when stories are shared about horses overcoming obstacles, Justify will undoubtedly be celebrated prominently. His legacy goes beyond trophies; it embodies resilience, courage, and unwavering self-belief. Looking back on that memorable day at Churchill Downs, we can only marvel at how one horse captured our hearts while conquering both nature’s elements and traditional expectations – making history under cloudy skies amidst mud-spattered glory.

Uncover Fascinating Tales Surrounding Champion Justify

  1. ### Discover Exciting Stories About Champion Justify

  2. **Legendary Beginnings:** Rumor has it that Justify got his name because he had to prove himself with his impressive family background. With famous ancestors like American Pharoah and Seattle Slew, people believed Justify was destined for greatness from the beginning.

  3. **Undefeated Record:** Justify made history when he became the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without running as a two-year-old. This incredible achievement confirmed his status as a real champion.

  4. **Triple Crown Victory:** In 2018, Justify not only impressed but also did something extremely rare by winning the Triple Crown. He joined legendary horses like Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed in achieving this prestigious honor.

  5. **Trainer's Success:** Bob Baffert, who trained Justify, is no stranger to success in horse racing circles. Having won multiple Kentucky Derbies before guiding Justify to victory on the track shows how important Baffert's expertise was.

  6. **Retirement Tale:** After an amazing racing career, Justify retired undefeated in 2018 due to a minor injury at just four years old (in human years). Even though he raced for a short time period compared to others, fans worldwide continue to be fascinated by his legacy as a Triple Crown winner and popular racehorse sensation.

Post-derby Successes

Justify’s journey after the Derby felt like witnessing a powerful stallion racing through history. He dominated at Churchill Downs and then fearlessly charged into the Preakness Stakes, facing tough competition but showing unwavering determination to win once again. The race’s intensity reflected his unyielding spirit – each stride brought him closer to joining legends in the sport.

As Justify thundered down the stretch at Belmont Park for the final Triple Crown leg, anticipation crackled in the air like static electricity before a storm. The crowd held its breath as he surged ahead with power and grace, crossing that famous finish line with a flourish that seemed almost destined by fate itself. His Triple Crown victory wasn’t just about speed; it was about heart, grit, and an indomitable will to succeed against all odds.

By achieving this remarkable feat without ever running as a two-year-old, Justify shattered long-standing beliefs and redefined possibilities in horse racing circles. His swift rise from obscurity to Triple Crown glory sparked awe not only among die-hard fans but also captivated casual observers – proving that dreams have no deadlines or conformities.

Justify’s triumphant campaign legacy goes beyond trophies; it stands for resilience, perseverance, and firm belief in one’s abilities even when faced with daunting challenges. Looking back on his historic achievement years later will remind us of more than just a champion racehorse – he symbolizes hope and inspiration for anyone striving for greatness against all odds in their own lives.

Legacy and Impact

Justify’s legacy goes far beyond his Triple Crown win, solidifying him as one of the greatest racehorses ever. His amazing skills on the track and historic wins keep inspiring fans and participants in horse racing.

Justify has truly changed the world of horse racing, reshaping stories and setting new records in a sport with a long history. When he won the Kentucky Derby without running as a two-year-old, Justify went against what was expected and captured hearts worldwide with his incredible talent.

As people watched Justify zoom past during races, they couldn’t help but get caught up in this magical world where dreams are chased after and destinies come true. The sound of his hooves pounding down the tracks echoed through Churchill Downs and will continue to resonate for years to come, leaving an unforgettable mark on horse racing folklore forever.


1. How did Justify's victory at the 2018 Kentucky Derby make history?

Justify's win at the 2018 Kentucky Derby created history as he became the first horse since 1882 to clinch victory in the renowned race without participating in any races as a two-year-old.

2. What challenges did Justify face in winning the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old?

Justify bravely took on the tough task of breaking a 136-year-old "Curse of Apollo" by becoming the first horse in over a century to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old, just like back in 1882 when Apollo achieved this remarkable feat.

3. How did trainer Bob Baffert prepare Justify for the demanding Triple Crown races?

Trainer Bob Baffert worked diligently to train Justify by skillfully planning his workouts, maintaining top physical shape, and strategically scheduling races to maximize his performance in the challenging Triple Crown events.

4. What set Justify apart from other contenders in the 2018 Kentucky Derby field?

Justify stood out in the 2018 competition due to his outstanding athleticism, perfect record, and incredible speed. What made him truly unique was winning the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old.

5. What impact did Justify's win have on the world of horse racing and his legacy?

Justify made history with his remarkable win at the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Despite not racing as a two-year-old, he secured his spot in horse racing history and changed the game for future champions. His unforgettable victory left a lasting impact on the sport, sparking inspiration among a new wave of fans and enthusiasts.

6. How does Justify's journey to triumph compare to other legendary racehorses in history?

Justify's incredible path to victory began with a thrilling win at the Kentucky Derby, even though he didn't race as a two-year-old. His journey continued as he went on to achieve the prestigious Triple Crown in 2018, solidifying his place among the greatest racehorses of all time due to his impressive speed, strength, and unwavering determination.