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

Heart of Our City: Bringing back the culture

Through teaching children how to harvest cedar, Fanny Nelson passes on traditional knowledge

Province assigns new judge to northern B.C.

Judge Linda Thomas brings 18 years of experience to her new post

MVP of the Week: Grassroots passion

Reagan Pomponio has had a love for soccer since she was five

Twenty Rupertites set to compete in 2018 BC Summer Games

They will compete in softball, basketball, swimming, triathlon, wrestling, athletics and sailing

Charles Hays Secondary School earns spot on Fraser Institutes most improved list

SD52 superintendent Ken Minette said he looks at other data to reflect how the schools are doing

This Week Podcast — Episode 90

For National Indigenous Peoples Day, organizers of Prince Rupert festivities tell us what’s coming up

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

B.C. man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

B.C. soldier shot down a century ago to be honoured

Norman Stuart Harper, of Kamloops, was killed on a bombing mission over Lahr, Germany, in 1918

Trump sends letter to Trudeau calling for increase in NATO defence spending

The letter comes as tensions between Canada and the United States have risen to a dramatic high

Horse put down, 1 person in hospital after hit by car in Lower Mainland

Accident along 132nd Avenue in Maple Ridge Friday afternoon

Most Read