Justify bags Triple Crown win in Belmont Stakes

Justify bags Triple Crown win in Belmont Stakes

Two weeks later, Justify weathered torrential rain and a blanket of fog to win the Preakness Stakes, setting himself up for the Triple Crown bid. Despite drawing the rail, Justify went off as a 4-5 favorite and more than lived up to his billing.

Justify defied all the odds on his way to achieving Triple Crown immortality. So when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, the hoards of joyous horse racing fans shook Belmont Park, right outside New York City, to its core. James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons guided Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935.

"I think everybody wants to see this happen because he's a handsome horse", Baffert said.

Smith, who ran in the No. 1 post for the first time in his career at Belmont, chuckled at Espinoza's comment, noting that he has to say that about his horse.

The Kiwi standing in the middle of Justify's Triple Crown storm says the feeling was surreal.

Chris Mara has won two Super Bowl championships with the New York Giants, and now he can add the Triple Crown to his resume. The great Secretariat ended a 25-year drought in 1973 in record fashion, then, four years later, Seattle Slew came along to put his ideal stamp on the feat.

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Justfy made history at the Kentucky Derby in May when he galloped through thick clumps of mud to score first-place at the finish line, becoming the first colt since Apollo in 1882 to win the iconic Derby at Churchill Downs without racing as a 2-year-old. Justify did that before a rapturous crowd of 90,327, leading wire to wire to cover the 11/2-mile distance in 2:28.18 with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard.

With his Triple Crown victory Saturday, Justify became the most valuable horse in racing history. "He's so gifted. He's sent from heaven". "He's now become a household name, and I'm looking forward to his next race just as much as you guys are". I'm so proud to be an American and feel this way, it's very emotional for me. Horses had come close to breaking it in recent years but it wasn't until Justify arrived that the superstition was put to rest.

The drought before that lasted so long - 37 years, in fact - that many began to believe that horse racing's grand sweep would never again be accomplished. "I think I see a lot of resemblance in these two, the way they move". Restoring Hope, who like Justify is trained by Baffert, last ran May 5 but not in the Derby.

Smith got the colt into a relaxed rhythm under a moderate pace heading into the backstretch, and he had an easy trip from there. Baffert, 65, had less than a year to train Justify who suffered a minor injury and didn't race his second year. With Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski screaming in the stands, his namesake colt surged to third at the 11/4-mile mark, then unseated Vino Rosso for second as the field turned for home.

Hofburg paid $3.70 to show.

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