Justify captures Triple Crown with Belmont Stakes win

Mae Harvey
June 10, 2018

He doesn't stand up and celebrate, he just lets the horse pull up properly. I knew this horse was doing well.

It will be the first time Justify runs on a dry track in the Triple Crown series.

With the win, Bob Baffert became just the second trainer to win the Triple Crown twice.

Justify has already done more than expected, a bit of a late bloomer who doesn't have the pedigree of someone like American Pharoah.

Justify and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith captured the Triple Crown after successfully winning the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

The forecast calls for a high of 80 degrees and cloudy skies. The crowd has been capped at 90,000.

Bolt d'Oro ran a disappointing last of 11 horses in the $1.2-million Metropolitan. "This year we are prepared to handle up to 48,000 riders if necessary".

He became the first horse in 136 years to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a juvenile, then hung on in a surreal fog to win by a half-length in the Preakness three weeks ago. He followed it up with a half-length win in the slop in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness on May 19. As he crossed the finish line, the race caller exclaimed, "American Pharoah is finally the one!" And they come in short order.

There were mild bids turning for home. There are also questions if Justify can come out on top on the longer track. Horses whose pedigrees are based on speed rather than stamina are unlikely to run their best, never mind improve, going 1 ½ miles.

Whether the son of Scat Daddy had the stamina for the 2400m trip of the Belmont was the big question, but Smith was able to cut out the fractions he wanted from the front and Justify was not hard pushed to triumph. He'll have nine horses to contend with.

Gronkowski finished second in the 1 1/2 mile race. Coming off a three-week break is Blended Citizen. Many owners and trainers hold back their horses from the Preakness.

Yes, that's right. There's a horse named after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

No chance. Between his imposing size and the way his chestnut coat glistens in the sun, Justify is hard to overlook, particularly with his muscular hind legs propelling him forward.

Prediction: Justify is facing a weak field and will make history.

Smith thanked Baffert for giving him the opportunity to ride Justify into the history books.

At 52, Mike Smith is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. The undefeated colt drew the No. 1 gate, which is Baffert's least favorite post position.

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