Justify ready for run at history

Justify ready for run at history

Justify led all the way in New York's Belmont Stakes winning by 1 3/4 lengths to gain immortality as horse racings 13th Triple Crown victor. Unlike the first two legs of the Triple Crown, there is little or no chance of any rain so Mike Smith should have a fast track to work with as he sets out to plot a winning path around Belmont Park from stall one.

Gronkowski, named for the National Football League player, finished second, after having been last for the first half of the race. Bravazo (+750), who is in gate 3, has flashed potential this spring and had a great effort in the Preakness but might be too much of a wild card. In the wake of his Belmont triumph on Saturday, they said they were open to the idea of keeping him on the racetrack but wanted to be absolutely sure he was healthy after a whirlwind schedule in which he raced and won six times, beginning in mid-February.

The win marks the second Triple Crown for Justify's coach, trainer Bob Baffert, in just three years - he also won in 2015 with American Pharoah.

Walden, who hadn't had a horse with Baffert before, was asked why he chose to give him Justify. For horses used to training and running at shorter distances it can be like asking them to start over doing something completely different.

"To make history like this is just an incredible feeling", said WinStar CEO Elliott Walden, who in his previous life as a trainer spoiled Baffert's attempt at a Triple Crown in 1998 when Victory Gallop beat Real Quiet. "They're just superior horses", he added. The Belmont Stakes are named after August Belmont I, the first president of the American Jockey Club, according to Newsday. I really believe that. Justify ended a three-year Triple Crown drought.

The reality is the race Gronkowski ran would win quite a few Belmonts, even though the third leg of the Triple Crown is thought to be unkind to deep closers and hasn't produced a last-to-first victor since Jazil in 2006. You know, I was meant to get this horse.

"Bob has helped me achieve so many of my dreams", Smith said. He did it with American Pharoah in 2015.

He's won more Triple Crown races, 15, than anyone else and became just the second trainer, after James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, to win two Triple Crowns. "But you know, Pharoah was my first Triple Crown victor". Justify's owners are betting on his global appeal. Baffert then threw him right into the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, which he won by 3 lengths. "This horse is starting to act like Pharoah", Baffert told The Associated Press. He didn't compete as a 2-year-old.

"The only way we can be competitive with the big boys of the breeding world is by backing ourselves and finding these horses as yearlings", Field said.

Earlier, Baffert and jockey Mike Smith teamed to win the $750,000 Ogden Phipps with Abel Tasman. Experience has made him wiser, he said. But jockeys say Smith's age is actually an advantage.

Vino Rosso finished fourth, followed by Tenfold, Bravazo, Free Drop Billy, Restoring Hope, Blended Citizen and Noble Indy before a crowd of 90,327.

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