A few minutes after 8 a.m., the morning after Justify won the Kentucky Derby, trainer Bob Baffert came wheeling out of the Barn 33, leading the colt by his rein for what was clearly a photo opportunity. "The horse is sound".
For the first time since 1982, a horse won the Kentucky Derby despite not making a single start as a two-year-old. He came back and he really wasn't that exhausted. "He's full of himself".
That's when Smith asked Justify for a little bit more speed and he was able to put Good Magic away.
After that? Maybe thoroughbred racing's second Triple Crown victor in four years.
But, the champion horse is yet to know whom he will race against at the Pimlico Race Course, on the 19th.
And she hit each one: Limousine Liberal in the Churchill Downs Stakes, Maraud in the American Turf Stakes, 39-1 longshot Funny Duck in the Pat Day Mile Stakes, 9-1 longshot Yoshida in the Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes, then Justify in the Derby.
Of the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field only Bravazo, who finished sixth for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, was likely to contest Justify in the May 19 Preakness Stakes.
There's a historical reason to back that theory.
He had the slowest winning Derby time (2:04.20) since Super Saver in 2010 (2:04.45). The thoroughbred racing, stallion and breeding farm near Versailles, Kentucky, has many successful horses on their resume such as Distorted Humor, Pioneerof the Nile and Tiznow.
Just how good Justify is will be determined in the next five weeks.
Throw in nearly 3 inches of rain, much of which hit in the hour before the Derby, and the race become a demolition derby.
Dressed in the white and green silks, 52-year old jockey, Mike Smith, became the second oldest jockey in history to win the Derby behind Bill Shoemaker. "That was probably his best race".
While no one can control the weather, the race distance is important. "The outrider had to help pull him up. We all kind of answered, 'Yes.' But I wanted to take a fresh look at it after the race and make sure". He looks good, but I just have to observe him. "It was a pretty awesome performance".
Quip, who earned enough points to start in the Kentucky Derby but was deemed to be not ready by his connections, is expected to start in the Preakness for trainer Rodolphe Brisset. Would the same owner want a rested horse competing with its own Triple Crown contender? Audible made up half the distance in the final quarter of mile and finished a closing third. You run a horse back in two weeks off an effort like this, even if he's not going to run for a while, it doesn't mean it's good for the horse long-term.
"I'm not sure", Brown said about his plans for the son of 2007 Preakness victor Curlin, who is co-owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Farm.
In the case of Justify, however, the stakes are way different believes the trainer.