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Justify back at Churchill after winning TC

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Triple Crown winner Justify returned to Churchill Downs for a little rest Monday, arriving just before a thunderstorm and greeted by camera-clicking fans intent on getting a shot of horse racing's newest superstar.

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A crowd watched the chestnut colt with a white blaze exit a van after a midday flight from Islip, New York.

Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes walked Justify outside Barn 33. He said the horse traveled well and will be ''just taking it easy'' for a few days before this weekend's celebration and his return to California.

''He'll walk at least the next three days, as long as he'll allow us to,'' Barnes said. ''Then we'll see which direction we need to head as far as training.''

Justify became the 13th Triple Crown champion with Saturday's 1 3/4-length victory in the Belmont Stakes that improved him to 6-0 lifetime. His milestone run follows that of 2015 champion American Pharoah, also trained by Bob Baffert.

Baffert, jockey Mike Smith and Justify's owners will receive engraved trophies for winning the Kentucky Derby during Saturday night's card. The track said details for honoring Justify were still being worked out.

''There's been tremendous buzz,'' spokesman Darren Rogers said. ''It's great to have him on the grounds. And, let's face it, there's going to be tremendous excitement this year with the Breeders' Cup being at Churchill Downs (Nov. 2-3). He's great for the sport. Any Triple Crown winner is great for the sport.''

As was the case with American Pharoah, who ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought, spectators waited as the van carrying Justify turned the corner before stopping in front of Baffert's barn. A wall featured two new signs, one proclaiming Justify's achievement below another for American Pharoah.

There was a brief noise as Justify emerged, but fans mostly concentrated on positioning their cameras. Among those in the crowd was Denise King of Raceland, Kentucky, who took a break from a conference to come to Churchill Downs with a friend and see a bit of history.

''I'd never thought I'd be this close to the most famous race horse in the world,'' King said. ''He's even more magnificent than I thought he'd be. Who would've thought we'd see another Triple Crown?''

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HORSE RACING EXPERT
Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

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Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.

In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

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