Justify Captures Triple Crown With Belmont Stakes Win

AP Images

AP Images

"They're two different type of horses, Pharoah and this guy", Baffert said after the Preakness.

Smith, who ran in the No. 1 post for the first time in his career at Belmont, chuckled at Espinoza's comment, noting that he has to say that about his horse. For this horse to do it for (jockey) Mike Smith, he deserved something like this. It feels pretty good.

"This horse is starting to act like Pharoah", Baffert told The Associated Press. I'm probably closer to that horse because of his temperament.

Of course, the race that Baffert and Smith really want to win is the Belmont Stakes.

Justify (1), with jockey Mike Smith up, crosses the finish line to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Elmont, N.Y. Justify was the first colt to win the Derby without racing as 2-year-old in 136 years.

Baffert, 65, became the second trainer to win two Triple Crowns, joining the late James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, whose triumphs came in 1930 and '35 with Gallant Fox and Omaha, respectively. From there, he reeled off consecutive Grade I wins in the April 7 Santa Anita Derby, May 5 Kentucky Derby and May 19 Preakness S. Sales History: $500,000 yrl KEESEP '16.

His days now are spent staying in shape with a rigorous workout schedule that keeps him in top condition to use his vast experience in handling the best horses in the business. Smith slowed the pace midway around the 1 1/2-mile track but maintained a two-length lead heading into the backstretch. He fought off challenges from Vino Ross and Gronkowski and cruised home to history. Mara said of Smith.

Their strides and running styles are comparable, Baffert said, adding that they both had similar struggles in their races leading up to the Belmont event. A plan will be formulated once the chestnut colt recovers from a compressed schedule that saw him win six races over 111 days since his debut February 18. "He's a gift from heaven". I love horses that are fresh for this race, and Rosso finished ninth in the Derby after recovering from a rough and messy start.

"He's made a lot of my goals come true but today, he made my dream come true".

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor is the early 4-5 favorite for Saturday's 1 ½-mile Belmont, the longest and most grueling of the three-race series.

Justify settled into a good rhythm and turned back a brief early bid from Vino Rosso (Curlin) on the turn. I wanted to see that horse's name up there, because we knew he was brilliant from day one.

Justify established his dominance right from the start this year by winning his first three races by a combined 19 lengths. Despite drawing the rail, Justify went off as a 4-5 favorite and more than lived up to his billing. Gronkowski was second, and Hofburg third.

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