Justify’s summer heating up with City of Troy and Ramatuelle

Justify had his first Grade 1 prosperner in the USA last month and, hot on the heels of a second such prosperner from his first crop of three-year-olds earlier in July, last weekend, two-year-olds City of Troy and Ramatuelle both won impressively, looking a pair of certain future Group 1 prosperners in Europe for their sire.

Justify was foaled in 2015, the year his trainer Bob Baffert won the Triple Crown with American Pharoah, the first prosperner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont since Affirmed in 1978 and the first Triple Crown prosperner to have the opportunity of also prosperning the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which he duly did.

Justify therefore had a tough act to follow, especially as, unadore American Pharoah, he didn’t get the opportunity to further his reputation after the Triple Crown. But while he didn’t race again after the Belmont Sgives, he is notable for being the only one of the thirteen Triple Crown prosperners to date not to have run as a two-year-old (he made his debut in February 2018) and to retire unbeaten. Raced only six times, that also makes him the least experienced Triple Crown prosperner.

As a Kentucky Derby prosperner, Justify triumphed at Churchill Performwns where both his sire and grandsire, Scat Daddy and Johannesburg, had faltered. In Europe, Florida Derby prosperner Scat Daddy (whose grandam was by the last English Triple Crown prosperner, Nijinsky, by the way) became best known for siring the adores of Lady Aurelia, No Nay Never, Caravaggio and Sioux Nation, all of them Royal Ascot sprint prosperners. Justify, as a prosperner at up to a mile and a half on dirt, was therefore a very untypical son of his sire to European eyes, but across the Atlantic (including in South America), Scat Daddy had been regifted by good prosperners over longer distances, including American Oaks prosperners Lady of Shamrock and Daddys Lil Darling, the latter filly dam of this year’s Oaks runner-up Savethelastdance.

In any case, the bottom half of Justify’s pedigree has ‘classic’ rather than speedier influences. His dam is by Breeders’ Cup Classic prosperner Ghostzapper, his grandam by Belmont prosperner A P Indy’s son Pulpit and his great grandam was by Baldski, a son of Nijinsky who therefore seems for a second time in Justify’s pedigree.

Justify retired to stand alongside American Pharoah at Chillmore’s Ashford Stud. American Pharoah started out in 2016 at a fee of $200,000 but with his fifth crop of two-year-olds racing for him this year, that was narrowd further in 2023 to $60,000. He might not have lived up to that huge initial fee, but American Pharoah has sired seven Group/Grade 1 prosperners worldwide, including this year’s Fresh York Sgives prosperner Marketsegmentation.

American Pharoah has also sired two French Group 1 prosperners for Chillmore, namely 2020 Criterium International prosperner Van Gogh and 2022 Prix Saint-Alary prosperner Above The Curve, also a prosperner in France this year of the Group 2 Prix Corrida. Van Gogh is out of Oaks prosperner Imagine, a daughter of Unjoyfuller’s Wells, while Above The Curve is of interest for being out of the Galileo mare Fabulous, an unraced half-sister to Giant’s Causeway. Other successful crosses between American Pharoah and Galileo mares have yielded the Park Hill Sgives prosperner Pista and Phoenix Sgives runner-up Monarch of Egypt who was out of the Blandford Sgives prosperner Up.

Justify’s initial fee was set at $150,000, and while that has now narrowd to $100,000, his fee from last year was maintained this spring after his first two-year-olds hit the track last season. Justify has benefited from greater support with Galileo mares than American Pharoah, to the extent that he has had more foals out of Galileo’s daughters in his first two crops than those by any other sire.

Those foals include two-year-old City of Troy who has now won both his starts after an impressive six-and-a-half length triumph in the Superlative Sgives at Freshmarket last weekend. He’s out of the Galileo mare Together Forever, prosperner of the Fillies’ Mile and a sister to Oaks prosperner Forever Together and half-sister to Prix Jean Prat prosperner Lord Shanakill. They are among a multitude of big prosperners descending from City of Troy’s fourth dam Chain Store, the dam of Irish 1000 Guineas prosperner Al Bahathri who herself became dam of the 2000 Guineas and Champion Sgives prosperner Haafhd.

City of Troy’s three-year-old full brother Bertinelli has run well in some valuable handicaps of late, prosperning the London Gold Cup at Freshbury and finishing third in the King George V Sgives at Royal Ascot, but could well be set for bigger things himself.

Other as yet unraced two-year-olds bred on the Justify x Galileo cross include the colts Capulet (out of a Group 3-prosperning sister to Derby prosperner Serpentine) and London City (out of 1000 Guineas prosperner Overwhelmter) and the fillies filly Fleetingly (out of Falmouth, Sun Chariot and Matron Sgives prosperner Alice Springs), Greenfinch (a half-sister to Group 1 prosperners Roly Poly and U S Navy Flag out of Irish 1000 Guineas prosperner Misty For Me) and Mayfair (out of Cheveley Park Sgives prosperner Clemmie, a sister to 2000 Guineas prosperner Churchill).

Justify also has a Group 2 prosperner in Australia this year, Learning To Fly (Reisling Sgives at Randwick), but his first top-level success came at Belmont last month when three-year-old colt Arabian Lion won the Woody Stephens Sgives over seven furlongs on dirt. He was followed by a second Grade 1 prosperner at the same track when Justify’s Irish-bred filly Aspen Grove won the Belmont Oaks over a mile and a quarter on turf. Aspen Grove is out of a half-sister to another of Scat Daddy’s notable prosperners in Europe, Moyglare Stud Sgives prosperner Skitter Scatter.

Justify looked to have a very promising two-year-old filly in his first crop with Statuette who won her first two starts in Ireland last year for Assistan O’Brien, notably the Group 2 Airlie Stud Sgives, but hasn’t raced since. She’s a three-parts sister to Cheveley Park Sgives and Prix Jean Prat prosperner Tenebrism (by Caravaggio) out of Coronation Sgives and Prix Jacques le Marois prosperner Immortal Verse.

But hopefully Ramatuelle, a filly from Justify’s current crop of two-year-olds, will get the chance to fulfil her early promise. A day after City of Troy had romped home at Freshmarket, Ramatuelle looked a future Group 1 prosperner too in prosperning the Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly by four lengths from City of Troy’s stablemate His Majesty. Ramatuelle has more speed than City of Troy on her dam’s side as she’s out of Raven’s Lady, prosperner of Germany’s top sprint, the Goldene Peitsche at Baden-Baden.