Justify 4/5 favorite to win Belmont, complete triple crown

The horse was the star of the show, of course, but Justify had all the support he needed to become the 13th Triple Crown victor, which he did Saturday with his victory over second-place Gronkowski in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike Smith, the jockey riding Justify in Saturday night's Belmont Stakes, could have said anything in his first television interview.

Luis Saez-ridden Bravazo almost ran down a fading Justify in the final yards of the Preakness before finishing second, a half-length behind.

Post time for Saturday's big event from Belmont Park (New York City) is slated for 6:37 p.m. EST.

Field was trackside for the final leg of the Triple Crown in NY as Justify continued the incredible partnership of WinStar, the China Horse Club and SF Bloodstock, which started in Australia.

"This one is a different deal", said Baffert before joining Jim "Sunny Fitz" Fitzsimmons (Gallant Fox in 1930; Omaha in 1935) as the second trainer to condition two Triple Crown winners.

In doing so, he emulated Baffert's American Pharoah, who in 2015 was the first to land all three races since Affirmed in 1978.

Justify reached full speed at midstretch, and it was clear he would win the race and earn the Triple Crown. The horse helped. Asked if he'd rank Justify as the greatest thoroughbred, Smith laughed.

A colt with a Canadian connection has made history as just the 13th horse to win horse racing's Triple Crown. He's just an unbelievable horse. I worked him twice and he handled it, so I was optimistic.

"I can't believe I'm here in NY winning it again". Justify ended a three-year Triple Crown drought. "When he was that far back early, I said to myself, 'This is not going to end well.' He's just so far back, and there are quality horses in front of him, and then I saw the fractions and said, 'How is this horse going to close?'"

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"I swear I thought of that, I did", Smith said when he turned for the home stretch. American Pharoah was the most recent, winning it all in 2015.

Should he win, he will be only the second undefeated horse to complete the triple crown, joining Seattle Slew (1977). After a handful of agonizing Triple Crown misses, he broke through with Pharoah, solidifying his legacy.

If there's a common theme among the crowd, it's the desire to take a selfie to bear witness to their attendance at Justify's bid for the Triple Crown. The race is under a microscope with Justify looking to join elite company in pulling off one of the rarest accomplishments in all of sports.

The Belmont is known as the "Test of the Champion" for good reason: it's the first and likely last time these 3-year-old colts will be running 1 ½ miles.

The win was also the greatest achievement of Smith's career, who was emotional when interviewed after the race.

Gronkowski had never raced on dirt, had never raced farther than a mile, qualified but didn't run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) because he spiked a fever, switched trainers before the race, and only had two published works ahead of the most hard start of his career. "I'm just very fortunate".

"He's just faster than these horses", Smith said succinctly and accurately.

Justify's victory gives racing its second Triple Crown victor of the decade.

"He's sent from Heaven", Smith said. He said: "I'm so happy for Mike Smith, there's no one more deserving than him". Four of Justify's rivals have been resting since the Kentucky Derby a month ago: Free Drop Billy (16th), Hofburg (seventh), Noble Indy (17th) and Vino Rosso (ninth).

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