Justify ready for run at Triple Crown history in Belmont

Justify claims Triple Crown with victory at Belmont Stakes

Justify claims Triple Crown with victory at Belmont Stakes

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.

In adding the Belmont to his Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes victories, the unbeaten Justify made Bob Baffert just the second trainer to saddle two Triple Crown winners.

What makes Justify's accomplishment more remarkable is that the horse became so valuable in 111 days from his first race on February 18 to Saturday, when he became the 13th victor of the Triple Crown.

Newgate Farm boss Henry Field can't wait for unbeaten Triple Crown victor Justify to stand as a stallion in Australia after watching the colt he helped buy win the Belmont Stakes on Sunday.

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

Hofburg paid $3.70 to show.

Despite a deal for his breeding rights worth a reported $75 million, the connections of Triple Crown victor Justify plan to continue racing him through the end of this year, they said Sunday. He won his first three races by a combined 19 lengths, making trainer Bob Baffert a believer. The chestnut colt with a pronounced white blaze won on slop at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness; even on a faster track on a clear day at Belmont, his opponents couldn't outrun him.

Vino Rosso won his first two career starts late past year in impressive fashion before contesting two Kentucky Derby prep stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

The 24-1 long-shot Gronkowski battled from the back of the pack to cross the line second, nearly two length's behind Justify, while the 5-1 Hofburg finished third.

Smith, at 52, became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown and gave Baffert a record 15 wins in Triple Crown races. He's the first Triple Crown victor to face that many rivals in the 1½-mile Belmont. But given the poor conditions of the first two races, combined with the unique length of the Belmont, there are lots of challengers to block Justify's run at history.

"Our focus was on each race as it came up, and now we can take a deep breath and just see how the horse is, " Walden said. "He is sent from heaven, I tell you".

Baffert will saddle a second horse: 30-1 shot Restoring Hope. Turning for home with a date with immortality awaiting him in the winner's circle, Justify bounded home with Gronkowski (Lonhro ) giving belated chase to the wire.

Gronkowski, named for and partly owned by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, returned $13.80 and $7 in his USA debut after arriving from England.

"For him to close up that much ground off a really easy pace, it was a remarkable race that he ran". Four of Justify's rivals have been resting since the Kentucky Derby a month ago: Free Drop Billy (16th), Hofburg (seventh), Noble Indy (17th) and Vino Rosso (ninth).

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