Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Justify triumphs in Belmont Stakes to win the Triple Crown

Kristopher Love | 12 June, 2018, 11:10

Justify with jockey Mike Smith aboard wins the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, U.S., June 9, 2018.

The throughbred's accomplishment marks the second horse to win the elusive three races in three years, as American Pharoah also took home the tile in 2015.

The chestnut colt is the second undefeated colt to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, improving to 6-0 in a racing career that began on February 18.

Justify's victory moved Baffert past D. Wayne Lukas to become the winningest trainer in Triple Crown races with 15.

Before Justify won, 24/7 Wall St. has reviewed the 12 horses that have won the Triple Crown, according to Kentucky Derby's comprehensive list.

An hour after his historic win aboard Justify, jockey Mike Smith sat in front of a crowded room of reporters, describing what it was like for an "old man" of 52 to finally win a Triple Crown. He would finish the race with a time of 2:28.18, and he would finish 1 ¾ lengths ahead of second-place Gronkowski. While that was a good thing since he was able to avoid traffic and did not have to deal with any other horses vying for the lead, the key was to avoid running too fast too quickly without burning himself out in the lengthy race.

Justify pushed the Triple Crown winning horses to luck No. 13.

To date, only 23 fillies have run the Belmont Stakes, and only three have won: Ruthless, Tanya in 1905 and Rags To Riches in 2007.

Gronkowski, named for and partly owned by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, finished second. But with the Triple Crown in tow, Gunther believes the pressure is off Justify.

"The great ones", Baffert said after the race, "they just find another gear".

"From his first start, you could see that he was a very, very impressive colt", John Gunther of Langley, B.C., who bred Justify at his Kentucky farm, told CTV Vancouver before the race.

"Give them the credit", said Baffert of WinStar. "When I unloaded him the other day, those horses in that barn went nuts when they saw him".

The Triple Crown is the rarest of all feats on the North American sports ledger. When placing a bet with a live teller at a racetrack or at an off-track betting facility, you need to use the track name, race number, type and amount of the bet, and the program number (s) for the horse (s) you are playing. Then jockey Mike Smith picked him up midway through the sweeping Belmont turn and nobody could catch him.

American Pharoah was the last horse to win the Triple Crown, capturing horse-racing's storied trifecta in 2015.

"I believe there's just a flow that guides me and when I follow it, awesome things happen", he said.

"I can't describe the emotions going through my body right now", he continued.