If Transylvania had a race track, this was what it would have looked like. For six days, rain had turned its surface into the Okefenokee Swamp. Then, at approximately 4 p.m. the joint disappeared.
The enveloping fog didn’t roll in. It positively swallowed Pimlico Race Track. North of tote board, the barns were invisible. Northern Parkway just behind them was invisible, and the Baltimore’s City very existence had to be taken on faith.
When they re-emerged, shortly before the quarter pole, Mike Smith, Justify’s jockey had asked him the question all jocks ask their mounts must ask when the race is on the line — and the big chestnut responded as though he’d been shot out of a cannon. Good Magic was not going to catch him. In point of fact, Good Magic had troubles of his own — two of them, to be exact.
Bravazo, a Wayne Lukas horse, and Tenfold, a lightly raced newcomer, were closing on him. The match race battle between Justify and Good Magic was a dandy, but Justify was gone and uncatchable. In the end, Justify put away Bravazo by a length and a half with Tenfold another neck back. Good Magic faded to fourth.
It was impressive but hardly easy.
I wasn’t liking at all what I saw before they disappeared into the fog, Justify trainer Bob Baffert said. “Mike (Smith, the jockey) was hitting him left-handed very early and I knew we were in a fight. Then I finally saw them again and Bravazo was coming, and all I could do was pray that the end of the race track would come up fast.
That led the team to announce that he “has not yet officially retired,” which only really created confusion.
Hall went on to do a radio interview on 106.7 The Fan to try to clarify, saying he didn’t want to make any big announcement during Kerrigan’s event, but adding that he wasn’t misquoted either.
“Am I done playing football?” Hall said, via the Washington Post. “I’m probably 95 percent sure I’m done playing football. But I wanted to do it the right way. I wanted to give the . . . organization the respect they deserve and obviously do it with them when the time was right. . . . And I wanted to do it at a press conference. I was in L.A. with NFL Network a couple weeks ago and I wanted to do it then, but the time wasn’t right. [Former Cowboys tight end] Jason Witten had just announced. I didn’t want to take anything away from him.
“I just wanted to wait for the right opportunity for myself to do it. I wanted my one last hurrah. I didn’t want to announce it over social media or anywhere else besides in that . . . building that I spent the last 10 years of my career on stage with the group of guys who brought me there.”