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.

 

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

Scooters lined up for an educational event in Stuart Park on Wednesday, June 16. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Free e-scooter safety training in Kelowna

Shared e-scooter operators collaborate to educate riders

The suspect reportedly assaulted a security guard and robbed him. The incident happened at a Kelowna hotel. (Contributed)
Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Employees at Playtime Casino wait outside while firefighters inspect the building after a small storage room fire on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News).
Small fire at Kelowna’s Playtime Casino as staff preps to re-open

Fire ignited in the storage room, but the staff were able to put it out

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

A mother stands with her daughter, visiting senior parents but observing social distancing with a glass door between them.  The granddaughter puts her hand up to the glass, the grandfather and grandmother doing the same.  A small connection in a time of separation during the Covid-19 pandemic (Valley First/Contributed).
Have your say on which Okanagan, Thompson, Similkameen charities get donation

Valley First seeks public help to distribute $250,000 to local charities via social media campaign

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

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

Vernon Courthouse. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Sentencing delayed in North Okanagan child pornography case

Man who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography will have new sentence date fixed next week

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

People decided to tag Skaha Bluffs rocks which the Ministry has to go in and now clean up. (Facebook)
Bluffs at popular Penticton rock climbing park defaced

Ministry of Environment is going to clean it up

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

Most Read