With Humberto Gomez aboard, Kentucky Derby victor Justify returned to the track Thursday morning for the first time since his 2 ½-length triumph Saturday in the 144th Run for the Roses.

Owned by the partnership of WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners, the Bob Baffert trainee was the first horse on the track at 7:30 following the first track maintenance renovation break.

Sporting his Kentucky Derby training saddle towel, Justify backtracked to the finish line accompanied by a pony with Baffert assistant Jim Barnes aboard. Justify then proceeded to gallop about 1 ½ miles before returning to the barn.

“I was very happy with him,” Barnes said. “He went to the track perfect and galloped perfect. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Justify came out of the Derby with a bruised left hind heel.

“Each day he was getting better,” Barnes said. “He is 100 percent. He was ready to go (today). He was getting a little pushy in his stall.”

Among those looking on Thursday morning was Elliott Walden, President/CEO and Racing Manager of WinStar.

“I thought he went great,” Walden said. “The last couple of days he has looked good in the shed, but you never know until you get them out there.

“He has dealt with a cracked heel off and on and that is typical of horses. The track was rough Saturday with all the rain. The first time we saw it (the heel) was when he came out for you guys (the media) Sunday. We had to figure out what it was and work on it.”

Barnes said Justify most likely would remain on a 7:30 schedule until he leaves for Baltimore next week and the Preakness (GI) on May 19.

“We will stick to the same plan and go a little light into Baltimore,” said Barnes of the post-Derby routine that has served Baffert well with all four of his previous Derby winners coming back in two weeks to win the Preakness. “Just keep him happy and healthy.”

Other horses based at Churchill Downs that are possible for the Preakness are: Kentucky Derby sixth-place finisher Bravazo (trainer D. Wayne Lukas), Pat Day Mile (GII) third Givemeaminit (Dallas Stewart), Kentucky Derby eighth Lone Sailor (Tom Amoss), Pat Day fourth Sporting Chance (Lukas) and Arkansas Derby (GI) fifth-place finisher Tenfold (Steve Asmussen).

KENTUCKY OAKS WINNER MONOMOY GIRL READIES FOR JUNE 9 ACORN (GI)Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’ Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) hero Monomoy Girl continues to catch the eye of trainer Brad Cox as she prepares at Churchill Downs for her next start in the June 9 Acorn (GI) at Belmont Park.

“She bounced out of the Oaks in great shape,” Cox said. “I’m very happy with how she is doing after the race and we’re getting her ready for the Acorn.”

Monomoy Girl galloped 1 ½ miles Thursday morning at 7:30 with regular exercise rider David Garcia on board.

“It was truly an honor to be able to win the Oaks,” Cox said. “All credit goes to Monomoy Girl; she ran her heart out.”

TRIPLE CHELSEA 9-5 MONRING LINE FAVORITE IN SATURDAY’S UNBRIDLED SIDNEYBrad Grady’s Triple Chelsea, a former $62,500 claim for trainer Joe Sharp, is the 9-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $70,000 Unbridled Sidney Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs.

“She’s really done well since we claimed her last year,” Sharp said. “We breezed her on the grass (four furlongs in :48.60) Tuesday and she looks fit and ready to go. We shipped her into Churchill Downs Derby Week but she didn’t really handle the crowed and commotion that well. We were able to send her over to (Churchill Downs) Trackside until the crowds died down. Once we got her back here Tuesday she settled in quite nicely.”

Triple Chelsea has won three of four starts this year with all victories coming in stakes with Adam Beschizza aboard. Beschizza will be in the saddle again Saturday and break from post position three.

The Unbridled Sidney, contested at five furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course, will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 11-race program with a 4:55 p.m. (all times Eastern) post time. First post time Saturday is 12:45 p.m.

Sharp, a former assistant to trainer Mike Maker, was primarily based at Churchill Downs’ Trackside Training Facility, located approximately three miles from Churchill Downs. The 33-year-old conditioner is now stabled with approximately 12 horses at Churchill Downs.

“This is our first meet that we have a string at Churchill,” Sharp said. “We still have our strings at Keeneland and Trackside but it is really awesome to be at the main track.”

The field for the Unbridled Sidney, with riders, weights and morning line odds from the rail out: Moon River (IRE) (Jon Court, 121 pounds, 20-1), There’syourtrouble (Shaun Bridgmohan, 121, 15-1), Triple Chelsea (Beschizza, 125, 9-5), Daylight Ahead (Joe Rocco Jr., 121, 30-1), Ruby Notion (Corey Lanerie, 121, 8-1), Our Valor (C.J. McMahon , 121, 10-1), Natural Wonder (Gabriel Saez, 121, 15-1), Justa Lady (Ricardo Santana Jr., 121, 8-1), Morticia (Brian Hernandez Jr., 121, 2-1) and Excessivespending (Robby Albarado, 121, 10-1).

SINGLE 6 JACKPOT MANDITORY PAYOUT HIGHLIGHTS THURSDAY’S EIGHT-RACE PROGRAM – There is a $385,131 mandatory payout in Thursday’s 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot as a result of a $770,264 carryover on Kentucky Derby Day – the other half of the carryover pool will seed Friday’s Single 6 Jackpot if there are no single-winning tickets on Thursday's card.

Thursday’s Single 6 sequence kicks off in Race 3 at 5:58 p.m. (all times Eastern) and concludes in Race 8. The bet will payout the mandatory $385,131 plus the net of additional money bet into Thursday’s pool.

Friday’s Single 6 jackpot will challenge bettors to be the only winning ticket in order to sweep the entire jackpot. If there are multiple winning combinations, 90 percent of the pool will be paid while 10 percent will carry over to the next day’s program. If no winning tickets are alive in the jackpot, the entire pool will carryover.

SPRING MEET RACING RETURNS WITH TWILIGHT THURSDAYS, MOTHER’S DAY – After a spectacular opening week highlighted by the 144th runnings of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), the Churchill Downs Spring Meet resumes with a week highlighted by the first of its popular Twilight Thursday programs and Sunday’s celebration of Mother’s Day at the historic track.

Twilight Thursday on Thursday, May 10 has all of the elements that have made the celebration a fan favorite during the past two years: live racing, $1 beer, food from many of Louisville’s most popular food trucks and live music. Admission gates open at 4 p.m. and the first of the Twilight Thursday’s eight races has a post time of 5 p.m.

Twilight Thursdays are scheduled each week through June 30.

The first post-Kentucky Derby week of racing continues with live racing programs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s special Mother’s Day celebration at 12:45 p.m. Limited dining reservations for Mother’s Day at Churchill Downs remain available for online purchase at www.ChurchillDowns.com/tickets or by calling (502) 636-4450.

For more information about Churchill Downs’ Spring Meet events and schedule, visit www.churchilldowns.com.

DOWN THE STRETCH – “Inside Churchill Downs” will air Fridays throughout the Spring Meet at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The weekly one-hour horse racing radio show is co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher, Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein, and delivers a wide-ranging list of interesting guests, from jockeys, trainers, owners to well-informed handicappers and other industry insiders. Those outside the Louisville radio market can listen live online at http://www.espnlouisville.com/ or via podcast on the station’s website or https://soundcloud.com/.

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