The road to Justify began a long time ago, likely back to the days when, as a child, John Gunther was dispatched to live on an Alberta ranch. There his life long fascination with horses began with a team of draft horses. As a young man, on weekends Gunther could be found at Vancouver’s Hastings Park. During those days he not only fell in love with horse racing, but with a young woman with a penchant for show jumping. As the story goes, he both bought her a horse and proposed marriage. The young couple moved to the Yukon. The horse, a Thoroughbred mare, was bred and she gave Gunther his first racehorse. Named Pallascheck, he raced at Hasting Park and won four.
Gunther purchased the mare Magical Illusion at the 2005 Keeneland sale. The following year she was bred to Ghostzapper. The result, a chestnut filly. As a yearling she was sent to auction but did not make her reserve, so was returned to Gunther’s Glennwood Farm.
They named her Stage Magic…. and she is the dam of Justify.
And the really magical bit is we find Nijinsky twice in her distaff side and again in the dam’s side of Justify’s late sire, Scat Daddy. For me, in this lifetime of horses, there was never a more magical animal than Nijinsky.