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

Search for mudslide victim becomes recovery mission

Valerie Morris was swept away by a mudslide on Highway 99 near Cache Creek on August 11.

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Flooding hits Cache Creek trailer park again

Residents say some easy steps could be taken to alleviate ongoing damage.

Closure of Steelhead fishery a blow to Spences Bridge

Decision to close the fishery comes after prediction of fewer than 200 returning fish in 2018.

Painting of Ashcroft fetches more than $200,000 at auction

A 1965 painting of the town by E. J. Hughes exceeded pre-auction estimate at recent sale.

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at Victoria’s CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

RCMP nab prolific car thief after month-long, B.C.-wide search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

Court sides with developer in Jumbo ‘substantially started’ dispute

Resort developer successfully argues 2014 decision that halted the project was unfair

Canada’s tax system unfairly favours wealthy, poll of CRA auditors suggests

Four of every five respondents think loopholes and tax credits built into the system benefit the rich

Most Read