FILE - In this June 9, 2018, file photo, Justify (1), with jockey Mike Smith up, crosses the finish line to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race and the Triple Crown in Elmont, N.Y. The undefeated Triple Crown winner has been retired from racing because of fluid in his left front ankle, trainer Bob Baffert and Justify’s owners announced Wednesday, July 25, 2018. They cited caution over the horse’s ankle making it impossible to tell if he’d be able to race by the fall. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File

Triple Crown winner Justify retired from racing

July 25, 2018 - 2:29 pm

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) — Triple Crown winner Justify has been retired from racing because of fluid in his left front ankle.

Trainer Bob Baffert and Justify's owners made the announcement Wednesday. They said caution over his ankle condition made it impossible to tell if Justify would be healthy enough to race by the fall.

The goal was for Justify to run in a major race this summer and be pointed toward the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. He was taken out of training earlier this month because of swelling in his ankle.

Justify won all six career starts, becoming the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to capture the Kentucky Derby after not racing as a 2-year-old. He won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become the 13th Triple Crown winner and second in the past four years.

Baffert says it's his responsibility to make sure Justify was perfect to race again in the fall but couldn't promise that. Justify is expected to return to WinStar Farm in Kentucky next month.

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