Justify’s Aspen Grove Wins G1 Belmont Oaks
Justify’s European-based Aspen Grove (3f Justify x Data Dependent, by More Than Ready) made good use of her trip to America on Saturday with a victory in the Grade I Belmont Oaks by three quarters of a length.
Racing over 1 ¼ miles on the turf, Aspen Grove was keen to run down the front straight for the first time before settling back as one of the back runners on midpack early on. As they raced around the turn, jockey Oisin Murphy let her out a notch and Aspen Grove moved closer still to race just being the leaders in the stretch.
Aspen Grove found room with a furlong left to go and powered to the front before building her margin to nearly a length by the time they hit the wire.
“Fozzy always had a lot of confidence in this horse. He wasn’t surprised when she won her group race last year,” Glen Hill Farm’s Craig Bernick said. “Last year, the whole time he trained her he thought she would be a 10-furlong horse this year. It’s worked out beautifully, it’s really exciting.”
Raced by breeder Glen Hill Farm with John Magnier, the Fozzy Stack-trained Aspen Grove was already a Group III winner before her New York victory with that win coming as a juvenile.
Aspen Grove is out of the Grade III-placed Data Dependent, a half-sister to champion juvenile Skitter Scatter and stakes winner and multiple graded stakes placed Victory Dance. They are out of a half-sister to the Grade I winner Intense Focus.
Data Dependent has a 2-year-old No Nay Never colt named Edwardian and a Justify yearling colt.
Justify is now the sire of two Grade I winners with his other winner coming in a dirt sprint.