WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing’s undefeated Kentucky Derby (Grade I) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner Justify readied for his final breeze before the June 9 Belmont Stakes (GI) with a 1 ½-mile gallop under regular rider Humberto Gomez Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.

“It was another perfect day of training,” trainer Bob Baffert’s assistant Jimmy Barnes said. “We’re very fortunate he has not had a bad day of training. He’s simply a pleasure to be around. If it’s meant to be, we can win the Belmont.”

Baffert is expected to arrive Sunday in Louisville for Justify’s Monday breeze at 7:30 a.m. California-based jockey Martin Garcia is scheduled to work Justify.

While Justify galloped, Albaugh Family Stables’ Breeders’ Futurity (GI) winner and Kentucky Derby 16th-place finisher Free Drop Billy breezed five furlongs in :59.20 under regular exercise rider Juan Segundo as he prepares for a rematch in the Belmont Stakes.

“I don’t think he got over the track well at all in the Derby,” Churchill Downs’ all-time leading trainer Dale Romans said. “I think he’s coming into the race a better horse than when he faced Justify in the Derby. He’s been really training well in the lead-up to the Belmont and today was not any different.

“The Belmont is unique for every horse because they are testing 1 ½ miles. It will be the only time they’ll ever do this in their entire career. It’s new for every horse. Obviously pedigree is a part of the puzzle in this picture. Free Drop seems like he can run all day so he should be able to handle the distance.”

Free Drop Billy (9-2-3-2—$625,220) is by Union Rags out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Trensa.

In other local Belmont Stakes news Sunday, Calumet Farm’s Bravazo galloped about 1 ½ miles with exercise rider Danielle Rosier aboard for trainer D. Wayne Lukas while Baffert’s second Belmont hope, Gary and Mary West’s Wood Memorial (GII) third Restoring Hope galloped 1 ½ miles under Gomez.

Winchell Throughbreds’ Preakness third-place finisher Tenfold, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 Saturday for trainer Steve Asmussen, had a scheduled walk day at Barn 38.

Bravazo is expected to van to New York on Monday. Tenfold is scheduled to fly from Louisville to New York on Tuesday morning and leave Churchill Downs at approximately 10:30-11 a.m. (all times Eastern). Justify, Restoring Hope and Free Drop Billy are scheduled to fly to New York on Wednesday morning and will leave the grounds at approximately 8-8:30 a.m., according to Director of the Stable Area Steve Hargrave.

Only 12 horses have swept the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978) and, most recently, the Baffert-trained American Pharoah (2015).

The Belmont Stakes field could possibly be comprised of the following 12 horses (with jockey/trainer): Bandua (TBD/Dermot Weld), Blended Citizen (Kyle Frey/Doug O’Neill), Bravazo (Luis Saez/Lukas), Free Drop Billy (Robby Albarado/Romans), Gronkowski (Jose Ortiz/Chad Brown), Hofburg (Irad Ortiz Jr./Bill Mott), Justify (Mike Smith/Baffert), Noble Indy (Javier Castellano/Todd Pletcher), Restoring Hope (Florent Geroux/Baffert), Seahenge (Ryan Moore/Aidan O’Brien), Tenfold (Ricardo Santana Jr./Asmussen) and Vino Rosso (John Velazquez/Pletcher).

To watch Justify’s Sunday gallop, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXHRoZSjsSo.

For complementary Belmont Stakes past performances courtesy of Brisnet.com, visit http://www.brisnet.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/BelmontStakes18.pdf.

MONDAY IS FINAL CHANCE TO WATCH JUSTIFY TRAIN IN PERSON OR ONLINE BEFORE BELMONT – Triple Crown hopeful Justify is expected to train for the final time over the Churchill Downs surface prior to competing in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (GI) on Monday from 7:30-7:40 a.m. (all times Eastern).

Area horse racing fans are invited to watch Justify and three other Belmont Stakes competitors train from the first floor of the facility free of charge. Churchill Downs Racetrack will open its Paddock Gate entrance between 7-8 a.m. so the public can watch Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Justify along with rivals Bravazo, Restoring Hope and Tenfold prepare for the 1 ½-mile third jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown – the 150th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.

Free Drop Billy, also locally based at Churchill Downs, is not expected to train Monday. Justify and Restoring Hope are scheduled to breeze Monday morning and not train Tuesday or Wednesday.

Guests may park free of charge in the Orange and Black Lots outside of the Paddock Gate.

Video of the exercises will be shown on the Big Board and infield video screens at Churchill Downs. Those unable to attend can watch an online live stream of the daily exercises with commentary on the Kentucky Derby Facebook (www.facebook.com/KentuckyDerby), Twitter (www.twitter.com/kentuckyderby) and at www.KentuckyDerby.com/Works from 7:20-7:45 a.m., thanks to TwinSpires.com, the country’s leading online and mobile betting platform and official betting partner of Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Also, clips of the activity will be uploaded on the Kentucky Derby YouTube channel.

Although Monday will be the final day for public viewing, the special training hours will continue on Tuesday as Free Drop Billy is expected to jog following his Sunday five-furlong breeze in :59.20.

KENTUCKY OAKS WINNER MONOMY GIRL BREEZES HALF-MILE IN :47.20 – Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winner Monomoy Girl breezed a half-mile in :47.20 Sunday morning as she put in her final major preparation for the June 9, $700,000 Acorn (GI) at Belmont Park.

“She breezed very well,” trainer Brad Cox said. “We’re excited to run her in New York. We sat down at the end of last year and mapped out a campaign for her and this race was on our radar since then. Our end goal is to win 3-year-old filly honors at the Eclipse Awards and I’d say right now she’s at the top of the list right now.”

Monomoy Girl (7-6-1-0—$1,120,750) breezed in company with 5-year-old gelding and $400,940-earner Dazzling Gem (:47.80) through splits of :12.40, :24 and :36 before galloping out five furlongs in :59.80 and completing her work with a six-furlong gallop out in 1:12.60, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.

Owned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables, Monomoy Girl is scheduled to ship to New York on Tuesday.

STAKES PROBABLES – Saturday’s 11-race program is highlighted by the 42nd running of the $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap (Grade III). The following fillies and mares are expected to contest the 1 1/16-mile turf event, according to Churchill Downs’ Assistant Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator Dan Bork: Dubara (GB) (trainer Brendan Walsh), Inveniam Viam (Buff Bradley), Lovely Bernadette (Bernie Flint), Res Ipsa (Ian Wilkes) and Sully’s Dream (John Ortiz).

Entries for Saturday’s card will be drawn Wednesday.

DOWN THE STRETCH – Racing at Churchill Downs continues Sunday with a 10-race card that gets underway at 12:45 p.m. There is a $395,728 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot, which begins in Race 5 at approximately 2:45 p.m. … After dark days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, racing will resume Thursday with an eight-race Twilight Thursday program that features $1 beer, local food trucks and live music from folk band Bridge 19. Gates open at 4 p.m. with the first post at 5 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.churchilldowns.com.

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