Belmont Stakes controversy: Did alliance ensure a Justify victory?

Belmont Stakes controversy: Did alliance ensure a Justify victory?

And yet horses once could do what Justify has done, if not in the literal sense of winning six races in 111 days at the beginning of a career, ending at the apogee of the sport, then in the spirit of Derby and Preakness victor Carry Back running nine races at 3 before hitting a wall in the Belmont, or of Tim Tam, who raced once at 2 and then 12 times at 3 before going wrong in his attempt to win the Triple Crown.

Queens, N.Y., native Mike Repole, co-owner of fourth-place Vino Rosso and last-place Noble Indy in the field of 10, hopes Belmont Park stewards will question jockey Florent Geroux about his handling of Restoring Hope, Justify's stablemate, for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. "When he broke a step slow - he's kind of an aggressive horse to ride, he pulls very hard - I wanted to make sure I put him in the clear", Geroux said.

But Justify, like all the great thoroughbreds, found "another gear", Baffert said. He had to get away from him so they wouldn't go so fast'.

"I think they at least have to call in Geroux", he told Newsday.

"No, Restoring Hope has natural speed", Baffert said.

'I have no earthly idea what Florent was thinking or what his race strategy was, ' he said in an email to the New York Post. The mile-and-a-half track at Belmont, significantly longer than the first two races in the Triple Crown, is known as the test of champions and the hardest race in the series.

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After he banked a $15 million purse for winning the Belmont Stakes, Justify's breeding rights were sold by the horse's owners to Coolmore for $60 million, according to an ESPN report. "He's now become a household name and I'm looking forward to his next race as much as you guys are", he said. "I will never know".

The victor is given a blanket of roses, so the race is also known as the "run for the roses".

Triple Crown victor Justify returned to Churchill Downs Monday afternoon.

Elliott Walden, of WinStar Farm, said Sunday the multi-owner group that controls Justify wants to share the horse with the public by racing him.

The Belmont Stakes Day card generated an all-sources handle of $137,954,895 - the second-highest in one day New York Racing Association History behind Belmont Stakes Day in 2014.

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