First G1 Winner for Justify
Set to be crowned Australia’s Champion First Season Sire, Triple Crown winner Justify posted his first Group I winner in the Northern Hemisphere when Arabian Lion (3c Justify x Unbound, by Distorted Humor) won the Group I Woody Stephens Stakes (7f) at Belmont on the weekend.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Arabian Lion stalked the speed set by Federal Judge. Eased out three wide on turning for home, Arabian Lion powered to the line to win by one and three-quarter lengths.
The winner of one of three starts at two, Arabian Lion arrived at Belmont off a four lengths win in the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico.
His trainer Bob Baffert indicated the Group I Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 22 was on the radar for Arabian Lion.
"He's just a smaller version of 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," Baffert told BloodHorse.
“I'm just going to enjoy this Grade I victory. It's great to be back here. Nothing like winning in New York. It means so much to the horse and the connections, and I feel great about it.”
Bred in Kentucky by Bonne Chance Farm, Arabian Lion was a $600,000 buy for Gary Young, agent for Zedan Racing Stables, from the Hidden Brook consignment at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
Arabian Lion is the best of four winners from five to race for the stakes-placed Distorted Humor mare Unbound, whose dam Possibility a half-sister to Group I winners My Flag, Miner's Mark, and Traditionally.
Possibility is the daughter of the Phipps family's champion racemare and magnificent matriarch Personal Ensign.
From the first crop of Justify, Arabian Lion is one of eleven stakes-winners for the champion son of Scat Daddy, who returns to Australia for the forthcoming season at a fee of $77,000.