He's won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and now, Justify is continuing to train ahead of his quest to claim the final jewel of horse-racing's Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes. Justify is a horse on the course of history, but he actually has a co-owner whose roots can be traced back to Western Kentucky University.
In August 2017, WKU alumna Mary Nixon and her husband Ted got involved with Starlight Racing, one of the four groups who invested in purchasing Justify for $500,000, a low fee as far as buying horses goes. But she never dreamed that she would one day own a horse on the brink of clinching the Triple Crown. Mary's long been captivated by colts, growing up reading Black Beauty and Black Stallion, and watching Flicka on television. In junior high and high school, Nixon worked on a thoroughbred farm, cleaning stalls, painting fences, and even sleeping in the barns at night. When Mary got to college, she got busy with school and other things, and her love for horses was no longer a top priority. That was, until, she got back into the horse industry 25 years ago, helping out at Churchill Downs as a volunteer with their host program.
Nixon is a Lexington, Kentucky, native, with parents and grandparents alike that attended the University of Kentucky. Her love of Big Blue Nation flowed through her veins, but she still wanted to move away for college. However, the reason she ended up picking WKU wasn't a traditional one. Nixon says she chose the Hill as her new home because she could take her horse, "Sorority Girl" (or "Dufus" as Mary liked to call her), to school with her. Sadly, Dufus went lame before Nixon even arrived on campus, but she still attended Western nevertheless.
Now, years later, Nixon has a chance to be apart of something special with a different horse, one that seems destined to add its name to horse-racing history books.
Justify will look to become the 13th ever Triple Crown winner, and the first to do so with a WKU alum among its ownership group. And you can be sure that Mary, and her family, will be as nervous as ever, counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until they here those hallowed three words..."and they're off!"