China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm’s undefeated Justify, sold for $500,000 at Keeneland’s 2016 September Yearling Sale, will capture the Triple Crown with a victory in Saturday’s 150th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Presented by NYRA Bets at Belmont Park.
Justify, is one of six graduates of Keeneland sales that are among the 10 3-year-old colts entered Tuesday in the race. Justify is the latest among the 22 Kentucky Derby winners and 24 Preakness winners produced by Keeneland sales.
Keeneland sales graduates entered in the 2018 Belmont are:
Blended Citizen (Proud Citizen-Langara Lass) – The Peter Pan and Jeff Ruby Steaks winner was offered by Penn Sales, agent for breeder Ray Hanson, at the September Sale. Doug O’Neill trains Blended Citzen for owners SAYJAY Racing, Greg Hall and Brooke Hubbard. He will be ridden in the Belmont by Kyle Frey.
Free Drop Billy (Union Rags-Trensa) – Bred by Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust, Free Drop Billy was consigned by Gainesway, agent, to the September Sale and sold for $200,000 to Kempton/Berkelhammer, agents for owner Albaugh Family Stables. Dale Romans trains Free Drop Billy, who was second in the Holy Bull and third in the Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland and Gotham at Aqueduct. Winner of Keeneland’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity in 2017, Free Drop Billy will be ridden by Robby Albarado.
Gronkowski (Lonhro [AUS]-Four Sugars) – The Belmont will mark the North American debut for Gronkowski, who was consigned as a weanling by Trackside Farm, agent, to the 2015 November Breeding Stock Sale and sold to Margaret O’Toole for $75,000. Epic Thoroughbreds bred the colt, who began his career in England for owner Phoenix Thoroughbred. III Jose Ortiz will ride Gronkowski for trainer Chad Brown.
Justify (Scat Daddy-Stage Magic) – Breeder John D. Gunther’s Glennwood Farm, agent, consigned Justify to the September Sale, where he sold for $500,000 to China Horse Club and Maverick Racing. Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, Justify races for China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm.
Noble Indy (Take Charge Indy-Noble Maz) – WinStar Farm bred Noble Indy, winner of the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, and races him with Repole Stable. Denali Stud, agent, offered the colt at the September Sale. Javier Castellano will ride Noble Indy for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Vino Rosso (Curlin-Mythical Bride) – John D. Gunther also bred Vino Rosso, the Wood Memorial Presented by NYRA Bets winner who races for Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable. Glennwood Farm, agent, consigned Vino Rosso to the September Sale, where he sold for $410,000 to Mike Repole/St. Elias, J.J. Crupi, agent. The colt is trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by John Velazquez.