Justify became the 13th horse in history to complete the Triple Crown, supplanting American Pharoah as the most recent thoroughbred to pull off the feat of winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes in succession.
Saturday’s win at the Belmont was a wire-to-wire effort from Justify, who darted out along the rail from the 1-spot and held off a late charge from Gronkowski to get the win. Justify still has the rest of this season to finish before the 3-year-old heads off into horse retirement, but he’ll be plenty active in the future.
See, while winning the Triple Crown brought in millions of dollars for Justify’s owners, WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing, the real money is in horse sex. When a thoroughbred has great success on the track, other horse owners want those genes, so after retirement from racing that horse becomes a stud horse whose primary job is to have lots of horse sex (or, at the least, produce lots of horse semen).
For Justify’s owners, they already negotiated the price on his breeding rights with Coolmore and the number is a staggering $75 million, per ESPN’s Darren Rovell. According to Rovell, the agreement was originally set for $60 million with a $15 million kicker if he won the Triple Crown, which of course he did on Saturday. That is apparently a new record in the horse sex business, topping Fusaichi Pegasus’ $70 million breeding rights from 2000.
Coolmore isn’t just letting this horse have a little sex and get on with his life. No, Justify is going to be putting in work, per Rovell.
While the deal might seem rich, sources said Coolmore would make it up by breeding in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, making the horse capable of breeding at least 250 times in his first year. At an average of $150,000 per live foal, half the deal would be covered in Year 1.
Justify is going to be an international player, apparently, enough so that it would make even Ludacris blush. If you think this all sounds a bit ridiculous, you aren’t alone, and there is legitimate reason to question whether there is actually value to be had in getting a horse from the lineage of a Triple Crown winner. I’ll let ESPN’s Pablo Torre explain in a fairly hilarious two-minute long segment from Monday’s episode of High Noon while Bomani Jones listened along in disgust.
Torre obviously finds this funny, because well it is, but there are legitimate nuggets of information he drops in this spiel that explains why it’s silly for anyone to pay that much for a horse’s breeding rights. Now, Coolmore will likely recoup its investment by selling the horses to rich dudes that will be enamored by the idea of having Justify’s kin in their stable, in hopes of landing a prized horse that can win them races and, ultimately, make them money in the horse sex game.
It’s a vicious cycle and one that Torre explains has been churning along for a century, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll be slowing down any time soon. American Pharaoh’s first run of foals is expected to hit tracks soon (also the progeny of Coolmore’s horse sex empire) and if any of them have success in racing then it will only further the demand for the children of a Triple Crown winner.