The retirement of the 13th Triple Crown winner is not really shocking, but we all wanted to see him put that horsepower on display at least a couple more times. It is completely understood why the trigger was pulled on a trip to the breeding shed. Financially speaking it makes a lot of cent$ and in the best interest of the horse’s health it is the right thing to do. But why did the injury crop up now?…Here is the hot rod theory.

Justify is like that guy in early adulthood that had the real muscle car. Some of us may have had something with a V8 motor and some cherry bomb mufflers, but this guy was for real. Our nippy stuff sounded good,(or so we thought) and would squeal tires. Pop the hood on Justify and you saw an engine that was bored .40 over with dual line double pumper carburetors and a supercharged intake. His tires weren’t squealers, they were white smoking…up through third gear. Those that challenged were normally left piddling with the pups and simply inhaling exhaust fumes. If you happened to pull up next to him, the lick of the camshafts was enough to shiver anyone’s timbers. If you lined up against him there was always that one hope…something on his car would break.

All that horsepower may have been part of the problem. Like a real hot rod, the torque produced by an ultra powerful drive train puts so much strain on the steering and suspension. That lower end has to be able to handle it. The Achilles heel of a top fuel dragster was not the motor, but rather that stuff carrying the speed down the track. Such was the case for Justify. It was a bad tire that sidelined him.

Now, was the swelling in the ankle really a result of that supercharged engine he possesses? We’ll never know. But here is what we do know, for six races in the late winter and spring of 2018, this dragster would have done Big Daddy Don Garlits proud. Accomplishing what others before him couldn’t dream of doing, this colt flashed down the drag strip of life leaving all others in his dust. If it were not for a bad wheel, we may have seen even more record runs. But alas, his keys will be kept in Winstar Farm’s pocket and we are left to marvel at that muscle car we saw boiling the back tires between February and June.

Thanks Justify for the hot rod memories!