Arabian Lion (Justify) Wins Gr.1 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park

Arabian Lion First G1 Winner for Justify

Almost five years to the day after becoming the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history, Justify registered his first Grade I winner when Arabian Lion (3c Justify x Unbound, by Distorted Humor) won the Grade I Woody Stephens Stakes.

Arabian Lion jumped well close to the rail and quickly took up a spot pressuring the leader down the backstretch of the seven furlong dirt race. The colt looked for room around the turn and had to push his way out turning into the stretch so he could get a clear run at the leaders.

Once he was angled outside those horses, he showed off his big strides to pass everyone and start pulling away to a 1 ¾ length win for his second straight victory after winning the Sir Barton Stakes last out.

“This horse, I’ve always been so high on, he’s just been slow to come around. [Owner] Amr Zedan, he let me be patient with him and now we’re getting rewarded with he way he ran,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He’s just a smaller version of [sire] Justify and to have a horse by Justify - one of the greatest horses I’ve ever trained – and to bring him to New York and win a Grade 1, that’s what we’re all in the game for.”

Trained by Baffert for Zedan Racing Stables, Arabian Lion has three wins in seven starts with two other top two finishes in seven career starts. The colt was a $600,000 2-year-old purchase by his owners from Hidden Brook in 2022.

Baffert noted that Arabian Lion will be considered for the Grade I Haskell Stakes along with Uncle Mo’s Grade III winner Arabian Knight.

Bred by Bonne Chance Farm, also the breeder of Wootton Bassett’s Group I Epsom Derby second King Steel, Arabian Lion is out of the stakes placed mare Unbound. That mare is a granddaughter of the great Personal Ensign through her daughter Possibility – who also produced Grade II placer Mary Rita, the dam of multiple graded stakes winner Major Dude.

Personal Ensign is also the dam of four-time Grade I winner My Flag, who produced champion Storm Flag Flying. Others under that mare’s name are Grade I winners Miner’s Mark, Traditionally, Mr. Speaker, and Seeking The Soul.

Justify is the second Triple Crown winner in as many days to sire a Grade I winner at Belmont Park with his studmate American Pharoah the dam of yesterday’s Grade I New York Stakes winner Marketsegmentation.