SportsWatch: Justify wins the 2018 Kentucky Derby, ending the 136-year Curse of Apollo


Justify won the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby Saturday, breaking the 136-year-old Curse of Apollo as he became the first 3-year old who did not run as a 2-year-old to win America’s most famous race since 1882.

Sent off as the 5-2 favorite, Justify ran his unbeaten streak to four with the victory. Trained by four-time Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert and ridden by 52-year-old Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Justify paid $7.80 to win

Good Magic, the 2-year-old champion by virtue of his win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, ran second. He is trained by one of the hottest horsemen in the country, Chad Brown, and ridden by Jose Ortiz. He paid $9.20 to show.

Florida Derby winner Audible, trained by two-time Derby winner Todd Pletcher, came home third, paying $5.80. Instilled Regard, the longest shot in the field of 20 at 80-1, ran fourth to complete the superfecta that paid $19,618 for a $1 bet.

An afternoon that was supposed to see brief showers instead turned heavily rainy at times, leaving the Churchill Downs racing strip sloppy at post time. The off track complicated what was already a difficult handicapping assignment for horse players who were already looking at one of the strongest and most competitive Kentucky Derby Fields in recent years.

Justify will now give Baffert the opportunity to win another Triple Crown should his horse go on to win the Preakness Stakes in two weeks and the Belmont after that. Baffert-trained American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015, breaking a 36-year drought in the sweep of that series.