McKinzie was among the stars at the First season preps for this year’s Kentucky Derby after three wins in four starts, but ended up missing the entire Triple Crown season and the
Marquee after a leg injury in the spring.
While his stablemate, went on to become the 13 th winner of the Triple Crown and Justify, carried the banner high for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert , McKinzie sat on the sidelines,
But he is now ready to restart top 3-year-old’s role in 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 spans in his first race in six weeks.
“If anything can be taken away from a sting of a Triple Crown horse retiring, it is a horse like this,” said jockey Mike Smith, who rode Justify, following the Pennsylvania Derby. “He is an
Incredible horse. Really, really proud of him. Bob [trainer Bob Baffert] had him prepared. To come off the bench Bob is just a tremendous trainer. I felt quite confident that I could be aggressive early and proceed a little early.”
“He had been training very well,” Baffert added following the race. “I always felt like he was the most effective 3-year-old and then he got hurt and Justify picked this up. He has come back with all the off time and has reacted really well. It was good to see him return in the game. It was a pretty tall order to go 1??1/8 miles. However, you can do it with great horses. I believed we had him tight. I believed we had him fairly tight I felt as though he was the horse. If you’d asked me on January 1, I’d 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 appointed for the longtime friend, the Brad McKinzie, a 30-year executive at Los Alamitos Race Course of Baffert Died is August 2017.
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