The Triple Crown win by “Justify” was a dream come true for Langley breeder John Gunther. Mike Lizzi photo under Creative Commons licence

VIDEO: Fresh challenge for B.C. breeder who produced Triple Crown winner, Justify

Next up, the St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal Ascot race course

John Gunther says 13 is his lucky number.

“Friday the 13th was always my lucky day,” the Langley horse breeder said.

He made the observation a few days after his horse, Justify, became the 13th Triple Crown Winner by racing to victory at the Belmont Stakes on June 9, following back-to-back wins at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Gunther said seeing the big chestnut colt take the win on June 9 at Belmont Park — in Elmont, New York — was an intensely emotional experience.

His heart started pounding, he recalls, so much that for a few minutes he wondered whether he was having a stroke.

“Everybody was in tears,” he said.

Justify is only the second horse to win the Triple Crown with an undefeated record, following Seattle Slew.

The champion was bred at Glennwood Farm in Kentucky, which is owned by Gunther and run by his daughter, Tanya.

Justify was sold at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sales for $500,000 to a partnership of investors led by WinStar Farm.

An online Wikipedia entry describes Justify as a large horse, standing 16.3 hands (67 inches or 170 cm) at the withers and weighing 1,380 pounds (630 kg).

The Gunthers are the first Canadian breeders to record a Triple Crown win, and they can’t quite agree on who should get the most credit.

The proud father praised his daughter’s “analytical mind,” adding “she probably has a better eye for a horse than I do.”

“I’m always telling him not to do that (give me most of the credit),” Tanya Gunther said.

“It was a team effort.”

She said seeing Justify become a Triple Crown winner was “surreal.”

Tanya Gunther grew up in what she called a “horsey family” on the Gunther farm in South Langley.

She started with ponies, then graduated to hunter-jumper competitions and eventually rode in Madison Square Garden.

Then she became an investment banker, but eventually gave it up to return to her first interest, horses.

“I followed my passion,” she said.

“There’s nothing more rewarding.”

Both father and daughter said the win still hasn’t completely sunk in.

And they will have little time to savour the victory before their next challenge.

John Gunther said he has a three-year-old colt named “Without Parole” that has gone undefeated so far and will be running in the St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal Ascot race course in Great Britain.

The St. James’s Palace Stakes is named after St. James’s Palace, a royal residence during the Tudor period.

With his daughter, Gunther has been to the exquisitely formal event before, always in a rented top hat and tails.

This year, in a possible indication of confidence, he bought his own outfit.

 

John Gunther at his Langley farm. He says watching his horse win the Triple Crown of horse racing was an emotional experience. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

John and Tanya Gunther with another of their horses, Vino Rosso. The proud dad says she deserves most of the credit for producing a Triple Crown winner, while the daughter says it was a team effort. Photo supplied

Justify takes the Preakness in the fog. Wikipedia Commons image courtesy Maryland GovPics

Just Posted

Police warn Barriere residents about suspicious prowlers on private property late at night or early morning hours

Residents advised to secure their vehicles and remove all valuable contents

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

African Children’s Choir making a difference in the world

Waroto Children’s Choir celebrate Christ and caring for community on six month world tour

Snowpack at normal levels, but El Niño is lurking

Despite a warmer than usual winter that has produced a dearth of… Continue reading

Letter: New party with a strong platform could form majority government in B.C.

Voters fed up with BC’s political parties open the door for a new party to enter BC politics

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Most Read