On the verge of his second Triple Crown with Justify, the Hall of Fame trainer is quick to recall his admiration for his first history-making superhorse.
I’ve never had a horse work like him,Baffert said. His mechanics, his motion, just the way he did it…. This horse is starting to act like Pharoah.
Justify isn’t American Pharoah. He wasn’t a 2-year-old champion and never seemed destined to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. American Pharoah looked bred and built for that.
Though Justify’s path to this point has differed wildly from American Pharoah’s run to the 2015 Triple Crown, Baffert sees similarities in his stride, his growth and his potential. That’s why he thinks Justify could be just the second Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Justify looked gassed at the end of the 1 3/16-mile Preakness though Smith thought he had more horse left. American Pharoah owner Ahmed Zayat said Monday he has been wowed by Justify and believes he’ll be the 13th Triple Crown winner.
Iron sharpens iron. That’s all we’re doing, getting each other better. We’re all competitors out there, so obviously sometimes we are going to butt heads.
The Giants seem set to go with Ereck Flowers and Nate Solder as starting tackles, but the three interior offensive line spots are up for grabs between Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Brett Jones, John Greco and Patrick Omameh. Hernandez is the favorite to start at left guard.
Is he trying to send a message that he won’t be pushed around by the veterans?
I don’t go out with that intention of ‘Oh yeah, look at me. You can’t do it,’ Hernandez said. I just go out there and play, and if it ends up happening, it ends up happening. That’s just the nature of the game.
Hernandez endured an 0-12 season at UTEP as a senior. He was projected as a late first-round pick before slipping to the Giants at No. 34 overall, giving him an extra chip on his shoulder that won’t let him back down.