How much money did Justify cost? Justify’s strong pedigree commanded a $500,000 price tag, and the horse has more than proved his worth since being purchased at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale. The above video shows Justify’s auction.
Justify was the product of Scat Daddy (sire) and Stage Magic (dam). Justify has a large ownership group with the following four partners: China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Racing and Starlight Racing. WinStar’s general manager David Hanley explained to Blood Horse what the ownership group saw in the horse.
“He was a beautiful yearling—had great balance and leg, great shoulder and lovely length, and neck, and power,” Hanley told Blood Horse. “He had great stature—was a very impressive horse when he was pulled out in front of you. For a big horse he was very light on his feet with good action and good energy. All in all, he looked like a nice package. He moved like a horse that could be a powerful dirt horse. All the partners liked him…He is out of a Ghostzapper mare and the second dam was by Pulpit, so you have two classic dirt horses on the bottom side in Awesome Again (Ghostzapper’s sire) and A.P. Indy (the sire of Pulpit). So he ticked a lot of the boxes we look for.”
Scat Daddy, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 11, won the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth. The horse finished a disappointing 18th at the Florida Derby in what would end up being his final race. According to DRF, Stage Magic was known for her ability to go the distance, notching all her wins in races that were one mile or longer. Here’s how DRF summarizes Justify’s pedigree with Scat Daddy and Stage Magic.
Scat Daddy, a Grade 1-winning juvenile, won the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, but ran 18th in the Kentucky Derby in his final start. His sire, Johannesburg, was a champion on two continents in 2001, when he was a Group 1 winner in Ireland, England, and France before coming to the United States to take the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on dirt. Scat Daddy tapped into that versatility to become an internationally prominent sire. His star runners in Europe have included champion Lady Aurelia, twice a winner at the renowned Royal Ascot meeting, and fellow Group 1-winning sprinters Caravaggio and No Nay Never. His other Grade 1 winners on turf, most at route distances, include Celestine, Daddys Lil Darling, Harmonize, and Lady of Shamrock. Scat Daddy also was several times a leading sire in Chile, thanks to his years of shuttling, with champions including Horse of the Year honorees Il Campione and Solaria, and Dacita, a Grade 1 winner in the United States…
Stage Magic posted all her wins going one mile or beyond. She finished third to champion Groupie Doll in the Grade 3 Gardenia Stakes at the mile at Ellis Park and was second in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. All three of her starters are winners, with Justify, whose debut came at seven furlongs, joining The Lieutenant, a winner at 1 1/16 miles, and Holiday Magic, a winner at a mile.
Justify already made history by becoming the first horse since 1882 not to race as a two-year-old and win the Kentucky Derby. Prior to the Belmont, jockey Mike Smith spoke to USA Today about Justify’s makeup.
“He just keeps doing more than we keep expecting,” Smith told the USA Today. “There’s always going to be that race where he’s going to have to fight one out. I believe that was the one, so hopefully he’ll come back and run even better next time.”