Triple Crown victor Justify

Triple Crown victor Justify

"The great ones, they just find another gear", Baffert said of Justify, who improved to 6-0 and joined Seattle Slew as the only horse to claim the Triple Crown with an unbeaten record.

Hofburg, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Irad Ortiz - and reckoned by many as a contender to thwart Justify's Triple Crown bid - was third in the field of 10.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who made his career on the NY racing circuit, piloted a ideal race to give trainer Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown.

"Although he got exhausted (Saturday), he was also looking around a bit at the end", Smith said.

But American Pharoah was a super horse, and Justify may be even better. Gronkowski was a bit green in the stretch, changing leads several times under Jose Ortiz, but ran well to finish second. He returned $13.80 and $7.

Justify paid $3.50 to place and $2.80 to show.

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Vino Rosso finished fourth, followed by Tenfold, Bravazo, Free Drop Billy, Restoring Hope, Blended Citizen, and Noble Indy. Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor Justify will be taking to the sprawling oval to try to become racing's 13th Triple Crown victor and second in four years with a victory in the 1 1/2-mile race.

Forty years to the day after another big chestnut, Secretariat, swept the Belmont by an astonishing 31 lengths, Justify made his own brand of history, as did the humans who nurtured his remarkable gifts.

Justify added the Belmont Stakes to his victories in the Kentucky Derby on May 5 and Preakness Stakes on May 19 to run into thoroughbred racing history.

Three races at various distances on three different tracks over a span of five weeks. He didn't compete as a 2-year-old.

Fans streamed into Belmont Park on Saturday in anticipation of watching Justify try to become the second Triple Crown victor since 2015. He is sent from heaven, I tell you. "I don't see why not go to the Belmont, as long as he stays like this". But Smith turned it into an advantage, gunning Justify to the lead and defying any horse to challenge. "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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