A daughter of the red-hot young sire Justify, who also begot NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (USA-G1) winner Just F Y I, Hard to Justify is the second foal and first winner out of Instant Reflex, a US$300,000 acquisition for breeder Yeguada Centurion S.L. from the 2019 Keeneland November mixed sale. The mare’s only other produce to race is the 2020 Arrogate colt Quick Reflex, a winner in Spain. Instant Reflex also has a yearling colt by Uncle Mo.
Grade 3-placed on grass as a racer, Instant Reflex is by four-time Grade 1 winner and important sire Quality Road out of the winning Seeking the Gold mare Without Delay, a half sister to 2013 La Coupe (FR-G3) winner Slow Pace and 2018 Pat Day Mile Stakes (USA-G3) winner Funny Duck (both by Distorted Humor). Without Delay is also a half sister to Slow Sand (by Dixieland Band), dam of 2020 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (USA-G2) winner King Guillermo (by Uncle Mo) and second dam of 2021 July Cup (ENG-G1) winner Starman (by Dutch Art), and to Jolie Chanson (by Mount Nelson), dam of 2022 Festival Stakes (ENG-L) winner Majestic Dawn (by Dawn Approach).
Without Delay and her sisters are out of 2001 Hillsborough Handicap (USA-L) winner Slow Down (by Seattle Slew), a half sister to multiple Grade 3 winner Olmodavor (by A.P. Indy) and two-time Prairie Bayou Stakes winner Dac (by Distorted Humor). Produced from 1994 Beverly Hills Handicap (USA-G1) winner Corrazona, an El Gran Senor half sister to 1990 Wood Memorial Invitational Stakes (USA-G1) winner Thirty Six Red (by Slew o’ Gold) out of the Stage Door Johnny mare Heartbreak, Slow Down is also a half sister to stakes-placed Seeking the Heart (by Seeking the Gold), second dam of 2022 Joe Hernandez Stakes (USA-G2) winner Chewing Gum (by Candy Ride). The female family traces back to the great 20th-century matriarch Bourtai, whose other descendants include American champions Bayou, Sacahuista, Shuvee, Slew o’ Gold, and War Pass.
Hard to Justify is inbred 4x5x4 to two-time American champion sire Mr. Prospector, a common enough pattern in modern American breeding, and has two more crosses of the great sire at the sixth generation and one at the seventh. The really salient thing about her pedigree is its sheer quality; from top to bottom, it reads like a “Who’s Who” of American racing and breeding, with no names appearing in the first five generations that did not prove themselves as possessing some class either on the track or in the breeding shed—mostly both. With a genetic background like this plus her own proven racing ability, it will be a hard thing indeed if Hard to Justify does not contribute to her breed as a broodmare—but, one can hope, not until she has further displayed her talent on the race course.