Justify wins Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown champion

Justify wins Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown champion

The strapping chestnut colt, trained by Bob Baffert and rode by Mike Smith, broke well out of the gate and led the one-and-a-half-mile race from wire to wire, pulling away down the homestretch in a finishing time of 2:28.18 amid a deafening crescendo from the crowd of more than 90,000 at Belmont Park, the venerable race course just outside NY city limits.

It hardly seems like three years since the world witnessed American Pharoah capture the first Triple Crown in 37 years, but here we are again with Justify, as he attempts to become the 13 horse in history to win all three jewels - the Kentucky Derby (GI), Preakness Stakes (GI) and, now, the Belmont Stakes (GI).

Before the Belmont Stakes, the horse's owners, primarily WinStar Farm, China Horse Club & SF Racing, negotiated a deal with Coolmore to sell the horse's breeding rights for $60 million.

Twenty-three times a horse has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown only to be denied horse racing's ultimate glory by failing to win the Belmont Stakes in NY.

"I can't believe I'm here in NY winning it again". It shows a horse eating the flowers off a women's hat and the jockey reimbursing her in the winner's circle with Quick Pay.

At 6-0, he joins Seattle Slew in 1977 as the only two undefeated Triple Crown winners; he's the first to sweep the series without racing at age 2 (because of a pulled muscle); and he's the only horse to beat nine rivals in the Belmont with a Triple try on the line.

Smith, who kept looking at the replay of his own performance while fielding questions from the media, admitted that he was anxious about how calm Justify stood in the gate.

Baffert, 65, became the second trainer to win two Triple Crowns, joining the late James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, whose triumphs came in 1930 and '35 with Gallant Fox and Omaha, respectively.

But Smith confirmed that Justify "broke better today" than in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Vast Majority of Americans Support Trump’s Meeting with Kim Jong
Rodman's agent later confirmed that his client thought he had spoken to the White House media chief. On his decision to travel to Singapore for the summit , Rodman said he was not in it for the money.

Hot on the heels of his wins in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the unbeaten Bob Baffert-trained three-year-old passed the so-called "Test of the Champion" in the mile-and-a-half Belmont with flying colours.

The 24-1 long-shot Gronkowski battled from the back of the pack to cross the line second, nearly two length's behind Justify, while the 5-1 Hofburg finished third.

The 3-year-old colt is a 4/5 favorite to win, according to Las Vegas odds, after impressive victories leading up to the event.

Justify has won the Triple Crown. The Triple Crown winner's yet unnamed half-brother is a yearling at Glennwood and is the spitting image of his older sibling.

Baffert told NBC Sports: "It's just wonderful". "This horse, I'm sure there was millions of people screaming at their TV wanting to see it done".

Justify has to overcome the No. 1 post position and Baffert will be watching closely to see if the colt breaks cleanly from the gate. He even likened 52-year-old jockey, Mike Smith, to quarterback Eli Manning. But he shot out with a fury, took a 11/2-length lead at the quarter pole and never let a challenger get closer than that.

Gronkowski will draw some love from casual bettors that are also football fans, as his namesake is Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots (who is a part-owner of the horse).

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor is the early 4-5 favorite for Saturday's 1 ½-mile Belmont, the longest and most grueling of the three-race series.

Related Articles