Justify captures Triple Crown, wins Belmont

Jose Verdugo
Junio 13, 2018

Belmont Stakes hopeful Gronkowski pauses before working out at Belmont Park, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Elmont, N.Y. Gronkowski is one of 10 horses racing in the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race on Saturday. In 2008, Triple Crown hopeful Big Brown's breeding rights were sold for $50 million before the horse had a lackluster Belmont Stakes race.

Justify established his dominance right from the start this year by winning his first three races by a combined 19 lengths. By today's standards, that is still a lot of racing packed into a relatively short period.

Scat Daddy's bloodlines include Canadian-breds Nijinsky (an English Triple Crown champion), Northern Dancer and Storm Bird.

Among the possibilities: the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 29 at Monmouth Park in Nw Jersey; the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar outside San Diego on August 18; and the $1.25 million Travers at Saratoga in NY on August 25.

A win for Justify would be Bob Baffert's second as a trainer. He did so in 2015 with American Pharoah, a colt that ended a 37-year drought.

The China Horse Club not only part own Justify but had the honour of him completing the Triple Crown racing in their now famous colours, which are increasingly seen around tracks in New Zealand.

The season-ending Breeders' Cup world championships are in Louisville on November 2-3. A sore heel a day after that victory raised brief concerns, but two weeks later Justify dug deep at fog-shrouded Pimlico to claim the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.

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"Our focus was on each race as they came up", Elliot Walden of WinStar Farm said after Justify's Triple Crown Banner was unveiled Sunday.

Just 12 horses have swept the Triple Crown, one of the rarest feats in sports.

This is the second Triple Crown win for legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert. "He's so gifted", Smith said in a TV interview directly after the race.

"I was just surprised on how well he handled the atmosphere at the Derby with the crowd, how he handled it at the Preakness because every time he shows up people start yelling and screaming and he just looks at them like, 'Thank you, '" Baffert said.

Among the other horses scheduled to compete in the Belmont is Bravazo, who challenged Justify in the Preakness and was beaten by a half-length. Horses had come close to breaking it in recent years but it wasn't until Justify arrived that the superstition was put to rest.

Baffert will saddle a second horse: 30-1 shot Restoring Hope. Vino Rosso made the most serious move to get within a length but never threatened. You know, I was meant to get this horse. Vino Rosso is also owned by Todd Pletcher, who has three Belmont wins to his name. The colt named for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski brings a four-race winning streak into his USA debut.

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