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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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 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

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

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

Just Posted

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

The bulk carrier ‘Port Alberni’ is berthed at CentrePort in Wellington, New Zealand on Monday, April 12, 2021. The carrier is 174 metres long by 29 metres wide, flies under a Hong Kong flag and was carrying logs. (CHARMEAD SCHELLA/Special to the News)
Logging ship a trip down memory lane for transplanted Canadian

The 174-metre ‘Port Alberni’ is registered in Hong Kong

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
A little girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Nanaimo poet Kamal Parmar will read some of her poems at Rendezvous with a Poet on Sunday, April 25. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Nanaimo poet to read at virtual Port Alberni event

Rendezvous with a Poet is hosted by Char’s Landing in Port Alberni

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 more COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Shannon Zirnhelt, from left, her son Lockie, 3, Julia Zirnhelt, 13, and Ella Krus, 13, co-founders of Third Planet Crusade are featured in a music video set to air on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
VIDEO: B.C.-made music video launched in time for Earth Day 2021

Singer songwriter Shannon Zirnhelt worked with Third Planet Crusade on the project in the Cariboo

Ambulance crews have been busy with a record number of emergency overdose calls this Wednesday, April 21. (BC Emergency Health Services)
B.C. paramedics responded to a record 138 overdose calls in a single day

Wednesday’s calls included 48 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 51 in Fraser Health

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. COVID-19 hotspots targeted as AstraZeneca vaccine runs low

17,000 appointments booked the first day for people aged 40 and up

B.C. Ferries’ sixth Island-class vessel launches at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania. The ship is the second of two that will service the Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route starting in 2022. (Photo submitted)
Second hybrid ferry for Nanaimo-Gabriola route launched overseas

Island-class vessel will enter service in 2022

Dresses hang outside Nelson city hall as part of the REDress Project by Métis artist Jaime Black. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
B.C. red dresses symbolizing missing, murdered Indigenous women vandalized a 2nd time

Nelson’s REDress Project was vandalized along with an outdoor installation on Vancouver Island

A nurse loads a syringe with a vaccine for injection at the Victoria Clipper Terminal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout not enough to bring back normal life by fall: report

Only 51% of the population will be protected under B.C.’s current rollout, SFU professors say more vaccinations are needed to achieve herd immunity

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read