No doubt about it, Justify deserves Horse of the Year, if not the century.
We are all in awe of his courage, stamina and power. Hence, at least from my perch, it comes as no surprise he boasts a long and marvelous list of Canadian ancestors. Indeed his lineage includes the mighty Bunty Lawless, Kings Plate, two-time Canadian International winner and, according to Gordon ‘Pete’ McCann,”the toughest horse I have known.”
And since McCann, former Windfields Farm resident trainer, told me this long after he had retired from training countless champions, he clearly knew a ‘tough’ horse when he saw one. Or in the case of McCann, a former jockey, when he rode one. Indeed, much of the enormous success of the legendary Windfields Farm is due to this extraordinary horseman and his ability to calm the demons inhabiting the souls of some of the most challenging horses. Horses that included the ever-volatile Nearctic, sire of Northern Dancer, and the sole stallion in modern history responsible for the ‘speed gene’ in Thoroughbreds.
Writing and researching “Rivers of Gold” demanded I take the ‘convergence factor’ into account when dealing with the hybrid Thoroughbred and in the process introduced me to so many of Justify’s Canadian ancestors
Hence, over the next while we will look at many of these unsung heros and heroines.