Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Justify wins Triple Crown with victory at Belmont

Belmont Stakes live stream: How to watch Justify go for the Triple Crown without a TV WATCH: Live streaming of Belmont Stakes, Justify's attempt at the Triple Crown
Lucia Summers | 12 June, 2018, 20:33

There was one horse, however, who was a threat to Justify's Triple Crown bid at the top of the Belmont Park stretch. Gronkowski, named for and partly owned by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, returned $13.80 and $7 in his USA debut after arriving from England.

Justify's victory silenced the skeptics who believed the colt was due for a loss because of his rushed schedule and close result in the Preakness.

"This horse ran a tremendous race, he's so gifted", said Smith, who looked to the sky to celebrate after his ride. Smith faced the pressure of helping Justify take that final step to become the sport's 13th Triple Crown victor.

After the horse won its first two races, he knew Justify was an unbelievable raw talent, capable of history. 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. And it did not hurt that Justify's stablemate, Restoring Hope, acted as horse racing's version of a moving screen on the first turn.

Baffert admits no other horse has compared to American Pharoah - his 2015 Triple Crown victor.

But Justify, like all the great thoroughbreds, found "another gear", Baffert said. Baffert became the second trainer to win the Triple Crown twice, having overseen American Pharoah.

"I was so happy for him when he won", said Smith.

"I can't believe I'm here in NY winning it again".

Baffert was asked to compare Justify to American Pharoah.

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Should Justify win the Belmont and become the 13th horse to successfully sweep the Triple Crown, it will be something to watch.

"Our focus was on each race as it came up, and now we can take a deep breath and just see how the horse is, " Walden said.

Justify is just the second horse to capture the Triple Crown undefeated, joining Seattle Slew (1977). Oh, by the way, Citation and Whirlaway were both Triple Crown champions. Executives from the investment firm oversee the breeding and horse ownership businesses. "Capitalist, Russian Revolution and Justify didn't cost $1 million between them in the ring but would be worth up to $200 million after their racing deeds".

If Justify wins on Saturday, he will have faced the largest field (nine) of any of the previous 12 Triple Crown winners.

"They're two unbelievable horses, but I have to say American Pharoah is better", he said.

Justify carried that swagger through the 1½-mile race, starting from the rail and jumping to an early lead. He didn't compete as a 2-year-old.

"The gates were set off away from the fence a little bit", he said.

When Baffert left the paddock to head for the grandstand, he relayed to Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm, one of Justify's owners, what he had told Smith.

"He left there like he was going 440 (yards) at Ruidoso, N.M.", said Smith, a native of Roswell, N.M.

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