On this sunny and dry Saturday afternoon Justify won the 150th Belmont Stakes in Elmont, NT, becoming the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown and the 2nd undefeated Champion to achieve racing’s most prestigious fete.
Starting out of the # 1 post, jockey Mike Smith, 52 anni, let Justify run from the rail in the field of 9 challengers to give trainer Bob Baffert his 2nd Triple Crown winner in the last 4 years.
Remember, Mr. Baffert trained American Pharoah, his ‘1st love’, who won the Triple Crown in Y 2015 to end a 37-year Triple Crown drought.
“Justify was showing me the same signs, as American Pharoah,” Mr. Baffert said after the race. “He’s a brilliant, superior horse. He could’ve won every race on the undercard today.”
Mike Smith became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown and gave Mr Baffert a record 15 wins in Triple Crown races.
Justify joins Seattle Slew as the only 2 undefeated horses to win the Triple Crown.
Justify has won all 6 of his races.
Justify got off to a good start, grabbing the early lead and setting a fast pace. Mr. Smith slowed the pace midway around the 1 1/2-mile track but maintained a 2-length lead heading into the backstretch. He fought off challenges from Vino Rosso and Gronkowski and cruised home to history.
Mr. Smith said Justify was so calm in the gate that he was worried he might not break. He did and led wire-to-wire.
“This horse ran a tremendous race. He’s so gifted,” Smith said in a TV interview directly after the race. “He’s a gift from heaven. He’s just brilliant.”
Justify closed as a 4-5 betting favorite.
Gronkowski finished 2nd, and Hofburg came 3rd.
Have a terrific weekend.