The Year’s Best Races, #7: Justify Scoffs at Apollo Curse, Runs Away with the Kentucky Derby

Justify churned through a pouring rain to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby en route to becoming the sport’s 13th Triple Crown winner. (Eclipse Sportswire)

After going 37 years without a Triple Crown, horse racing celebrated its second Triple Crown winner in just the last four years as Justify joined the ranks of 2015 champion American Pharoah when he captured the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Not only was 2018 the year of Justify, it’ll also be remembered for dozens of heart-stopping races, thrilling battles and long-shot winners for the ages. We’re looking back on the year by counting down the top 15 races, one race a day, until the calendar turns to 2019.

*Note that our list of best races for 2018 only includes races run in North America.

To view the other top 15 races, click here and scroll down.

#7: Justify Scoffs at Apollo Curse, Runs Away with the Kentucky Derby

What curse? Despite Justify’s dominance coming into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, much of the chatter that followed the Bob Baffert trainee centered around the Curse of Apollo – which is based on the fact that no horse since Apollo in 1882 had been able to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced the prior year as a 2-year old. Well, so much for that. Not only did Justify win the Kentucky Derby, he’d go on to win the Triple Crown. The 2018 Derby will also likely be remembered for the wet conditions that Justify was able to overcome, when he fended off a challenge in the stretch from 2017 2-year-old champion Good Magic.

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