Justify It Factor
Storytelling

Justify : Does He Have “It”?

“The ‘it factor’- no one seems to know what the ‘it factor’ is…” says Mike Smith, pausing in thought.


“Does he have ‘it’?”

The question was asked a little over 90 days ago when a horse not raced before brought his brawny bones to the finish line first, a feat which he has now repeated again and again and again and again. He has seemingly taken each moment in stride as the crowds grew larger, the occasions more momentous, each stage more grand than the last.

“Does he have ‘it’?”

The question was asked before he broke a curse 136 years running, as the world stood up and took notice, his acutely athletic body only seeming to get better with each jog, each gallop, each race. Never a single step out of line, he remains a gentleman – reverent – returning to the comforts of his stall after every victory with a confident bounce in his step

“Does he have ‘it’?”

The question was asked after he emerged from an almost surreal cloud of fog, splashing through the slop of Pimlico’s storied surface to keep his record unscathed – though just barely. Void of the dirt of earth that devoured his foes, he bowed his head bob after bob in a kind of quiet rhythm where the world fell away beside him. When he puffed, only so slightly, after the race that could have caused him to slink in defeat, to fold under the pressure, they questioned him once more.

They have asked the question… and he has resolutely answered – again and again and again and again.

In the chaos of his world, he remains the consummate professional despite the attraction he’s become: not a single movement, act or thought as it shouldn’t be… the likes of a horse we have come to recognize as something different… like an old soul beyond his time.


Mike Smith breaks his brief silence, “…He seems to understand things like he’s an old soul who has been running for years… He thinks way beyond his time. That’s the ‘it factor.”

And that quite possibly will be the answer to this Spring’s oft repeated question.

Article written by Eliya Finkelstein

Chief Storytelling Officer

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lacey McDaniel Reply

    You can’t think of thoroughbred races and not think of D Wayne Lukas. Whether he is in that sharp suit and sunglasses or on his pony every morning, Wayne is there. He lights up the track with that megawatt smile.

    We met him a few years back at his barn. Our trainer galloped for him too. She introduced us as he was looking at a new crop of babies. One being an expensive filly that he quickly pointed out every flaw. He still invited us in to his famous barn at Churchill and told us to make ourselves right at home. We could see it was a busy morning so we hung out front with his pony waiting on our trainer to finish galloping for him. Nonetheless, that is when we met him and will never forget his hospitality.

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