Kiwi shares in Kentucky Derby glory

Justify wins the Kentucky Derby in difficult conditions.

New Zealand bloodstock agent Michael Wallace has claimed a slice of American racing history.

The China Horse Club’s racing and bloodstock manager played a major role in securing both the Group 1 Kentucky Derby (2000m) winner Justify and the third-placed Audible.

A US$500,000 yearling purchase, Justify became the first horse to win the classic without racing as a two-year-old.

“He was such a beautiful, upstanding horse who was light on his feet,” said the Cambridge-based Wallace, who shares in the buying duties for the Club with Mick Flanagan and Tom Ryan of SF Bloodstock.

“If we were going to push on a horse in the first few days of that sale, he was the one we were going to push hard for. He stood out head and shoulders above everybody else in that sale.

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“We were lucky we got in early on Scat Daddy. A yearling like that walks into the Keeneland sale now and brings three times that amount.

“To win the Derby means everything. Everyone knows how difficult it is to win a race like this. It is far reaching.”

Prepared by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, Justify beat last season’s two-year-old champion and Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (1700m) winner Good Magic.

Raced by the China Horse Club with WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners, Justify secured the US$1,432,000 first prize at just his fourth start and gave his trainer a fifth victory in the race.

Bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther, Justify was consigned by Glennwood Farm to the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

The China Horse Club is also involved in the ownership of the Group 2 Tampa Bay Derby (1700m) winner Quip, who skipped the Kentucky Derby to focus on the upcoming Group 1 Preakness Stakes (1900m).

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