Justify bidding for rare Triple Crown sweep in Belmont

Lynette Rowe
Июня 13, 2018

Justify was never seriously challenged as he led all the way to win Saturday's Belmont Stakes, becoming the 13th victor of the Triple Crown and only the second ever to do so while still undefeated.

"We want to race him, at least through this year", he said Sunday.

The big, chestnut colt stood above the other horses with a commanding lead all the way through the homestretch Saturday in Elmont, N.Y. It was only his sixth race, and some bettors had anxious that he packed too many races into the 110 days leading up to the race, but it was no contest.

The awesome comet that is Justify proved that, bursting on the scene to win the Kentucky Derby, surviving the fog to win the Preakness, then leading wire-to-wire over the mile-and-a-half on Saturday to become just the sport's 13th Triple Crown champion. 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.

Justify is the first horse to win the Crown since American Pharaoh broke a decades-long drought in 2015. Baffert won in 2015 with American Pharoah.

Prior to his victory, the thoroughbred had a flawless 5-0 record in his brief career and had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Baffert came into the year with 12 Triple Crown race wins before tying James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons for second place with Justify's victory at the Kentucky Derby and then tying Lukas last month the Preakness. At that point, Smith asked Justify for a bit more speed. There was a Hall-of-Fame trainer and a Hall-of-Fame jockey, side by side, sharing a moment and celebrating only the second horse to win the Triple Crown with an undefeated record.

The biggest concern as Justify lined by for his try at history was his inside post position. "Amazing. Just hope Eli Manning can do the same thing at 37". He wasn't a 2-year-old champion bred and built to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

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"I wanted to see his name up there with the greats", Baffert said. Only a great horse could have done it.

But Justify found his own path.

"I think it's very fitting that Gronkowski finished second again", Mara cracked. "He's just an imposing horse". Baffert said he felt confident, not stressed, during the run-up to the race.

Justify defied all the odds on his way to achieving Triple Crown immortality.

"For him to close up that much ground off a really easy pace, it was a remarkable race that he ran".

Before Justify won, 24/7 Wall St. has reviewed the 12 horses that have won the Triple Crown, according to Kentucky Derby's comprehensive list. "Over the years, people have told me it was one of their most memorable races as well".

"I told him I loved him", he said. I just won a Triple Crown, man. "I mean, this is only the 13th time in history it's ever been done", he said.

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