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Justify wins 144th Kentucky Derby

Emma Elceser, Social Media Manager

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Through the rain and mud, Justify finished the race first. This allowed his jockey, Mike Smith, his second win at the Kentucky Derby. “He’s got the ‘it’ factor,” Smith told NPR. “He’s so above average, he’s got unbelievable talent, and he’s got a mind to go with it.”

Just under three inches of rain on race day made for a muddy course, but this didn’t seem to alter the results too much. Justify was the sixth favorite in a row to come out on top. Justify is a 3-year-old colt who just began training in February, and has already broken an 136-year curse believed by superstitious horse racing fans. Until this year, no horse since 1882 who hadn’t started training by age 2 had won the Kentucky Derby. Justify seemed to be the only one capable of breaking the curse, and he came through for his fans.

It is thought that Justify will now go on to compete well in the next race in the Triple Crown trail with competitors American Pharoah and Arrogate.

The team who owns justify took home a winning of $1.24 million for their victory, making the $500,000 they spent on him worthwhile. An Austin resident received a nice payout for his first place finish as well. The woman, who did not wish to be identified, put down just $18 on a pick five bet. She correctly identified first place finishers in races 8-12. “It’s extremely rare. To bet that little amount of money and win $1.2 million is unheard of,” said spokesperson Rachel Bagnetto.

Another big winner was a gambler in Las Vegas who put down $500 in a 300-to-one bet that quickly turned into $150,000.

Senior Annika Schulz is a horse lover at PV. “The joy of riding comes from forming a partnership and working together with a horse,” said Schulz. The Kentucky Derby brings in fans from all over each year, and although it is uncommon to hear of high schoolers attending the race, there are many who have interest in riding horses and stay updated with the results throughout the weekend.

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Justify wins 144th Kentucky Derby