It was the second Triple Crown for trainer Bob Baffert and the first for jockey Mike Smith.
The chestnut colt is trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and was ridden to victory by veteran jockey Mike Smith.
"He probably broke better today than he has out of the other two (Derby and Preakness), to be honest with you", Smith said.
"It's a privilege to have a horse like this", Baffert said about Justify. "It was meant to be". A crowd capped at 90,000 is expected for a chance to witness history. The great Secretariat ended a 25-year drought in 1973 in record fashion, then, four years later, Seattle Slew came along to put his ideal stamp on the feat. Baffert called Justify one of the all-time greats.
Justify will be trying to become thoroughbred racing's 13th Triple Crown victor. Why can't one of these thoroughbreds just win three athletic competitions in a row? "We've been able to brand something very special in what we've accomplished".
Justify joins Seattle Slew as the only two undefeated horses to win the Triple Crown. Slew also was a wire-to-wire Belmont victor. He also made a late charge to grab third in that race. He did so with American Pharoah in 2015, ending a 37-year drought.
"It never gets old", Baffert said. The last horse to accomplish the feat was American Pharoah in 2015.
Starting out of the No. 1 post, jockey Mike Smith navigated Justify from the rail through a field of nine challengers to give trainer Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown victor in the past four years. He celebrated by grabbing white carnations from the winner's blanket and tossing them in the air.
"For him to close up that much ground off a really easy pace, it was a remarkable race that he ran".
Concern over Justify's No. 1 position was eliminated right away, as Smith recalled the start. Does Justify's Triple Crown win change that thinking?
Chris Mara has won two Super Bowl championships with the New York Giants, and now he can add the Triple Crown to his resume.
Justify was purchased at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for the China Horse Club & Maverick Racing for $500,000 by their buying team that consists of Wallace, the China Horse Club's racing and bloodstock manager, along with Mick Flanagan and Tom Ryan of SF Bloodstock. Justify and Bravazo will be the only horses to run in the Derby, Preakness and Belmont.
"This horse ran a tremendous race, he's so gifted", Smith said. He's sent from heaven, it's just fantastic.
Baffert had fretted after Justify drew the No. 1 post, a spot he detests for his horses. Trainers are looking for experienced riders to lead their thoroughbreds to victory, and no one knows horse racing better than Smith. They didn't do it. If rain falls and turns it sloppy, Justify should feel right at home.
Long shot Gronkowski nipped at Justify's heels but could never catch up. "I thought maybe, because I could see Gronkowski flying, but he just couldn't get to that horse".
Gronkowski paid $13.80 to place and $7.00 to show.
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