Justify Wins the Triple Crown

ImageJustify ridden by Mike Smith began his Triple Crown bid by winning the Kentucky Derby on May

ImageJustify ridden by Mike Smith began his Triple Crown bid by winning the Kentucky Derby on May

Should Justify win the Belmont and become the 13th horse to successfully sweep the Triple Crown, it will be something to watch.

In contrast to the first two legs of the Triple Crown series, Saturday's Belmont was run under ideal conditions.

The Bob Baffert-trained horse followed his Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes wins in NY on Saturday.

The muscular horse is 1,268 pounds, more than 100 pounds more than American Pharoah, the Baffert-trained horse that won the Triple Crown in 2015, and stands at 16.3 hands high, slightly taller than American Pharoah.

After a 37-year drought in which the feat seemed impossible, Justify became the second horse in four years to achieve it, tutored, like 2015 predecessor American Pharoah, by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

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The three-year-old colt, ridden by Mike Smith, is now unbeaten in six races since his debut in February.

Gronkowski came in second, while Hofburg finished third.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

The first horse to load in the gate, Justify stayed so still and steady as the other nine followed suit that Smith anxious for a moment that he might not break at all.

"This horse ran a tremendous race". It shows a horse eating the flowers off a women's hat and the jockey reimbursing her in the winner's circle with Quick Pay.

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That set up a familiar drama for the 1 ½-mile Belmont. The 24-1 longshot Gronkowski got up for second, while Hofurg and Vino Rosso completed the superfecta. The great Secretariat ended a 25-year drought in 1973 in record fashion, then, four years later, Seattle Slew came along to put his flawless stamp on the feat. He won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness on sloppy tracks after heavy rain.

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.

Justify won the Triple Crown's last two stages, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, last month.

"He was showing me the same signs", Baffert said after Justify prevailed for the sixth time in a scant 111 days. Breaking from the less-than-desired No. 1 post, Smith gunned Justify to the lead and never looked back.

Baffert saddled a second horse: 30-1 shot Restoring Hope.

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