Justify: Racing's $75-Million Horse?

13 June, 2018, 17:00 | Author: Suzanne Horton
  • Churchill Downs in Louisville KY

Justify led all the way in New York's Belmont Stakes winning by 1 3/4 lengths to gain immortality as horse racings 13th Triple Crown victor.

The Belmont Stakes is the last of the Triple Crown races, after the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

The 24-1 long-shot Gronkowski battled from the back of the pack to cross the line second, nearly two lengths behind Justify, while the 5-1 Hofburg finished third amid overcast but dry conditions.

At 6-0, he joins Seattle Slew in 1977 as the only two undefeated Triple Crown winners; he's the first to sweep the series without racing at age 2 (because of a pulled muscle); and he's the only horse to beat nine rivals in the Belmont with a Triple try on the line.

Gronkowski, a 24-1 shot trained by Chad Brown and part-owned by New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski, came from well back to finish second under jockey Jose Ortiz. Surrounded by a fever pitch of fandom, Justify crossed the wire in a final time of 2:28.18, forever stamping himself among the greatest to ever compete.

"It's been the longest, quickest journey", Baffert said Sunday.

"What an incredible experience, my heart was pounding and I had to sit down", said Gunther, who witnessed Justify's historic run at Belmont Park on Saturday. He made a strong and sudden move along the inside while picking up horses rapidly on the second turn, got within easy striking distance of the leader nearing midstretch, but could not sustain the bid while racing a bit greenly and failing to change leads until deep stretch.


The world was watching on television and the internet and 90,327 fans had packed Belmont Park to cheer for the chestnut colt who had captured the attention of the horse racing world by winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness after not racing as a 2-year-old.

Jun 9, 2018; Elmont, NY, USA; Mike Smith aboard Justify wins the 150th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. He did so in 2015 with American Pharoah, a colt that ended a 37-year drought.

"It baffled me", Mike Repole, who owns fellow competitors Vino Rosso and Noble Indy, said, per David Grening of Daily Racing Form.

With his front-running win, Justify became thoroughbred racing's 13th Triple Crown victor. The thoroughbred won the 1 3/16-mile Preakness at Pimlico Race Course on May 19 by holding off Bravazo by a half-length on a muddy track. For him to close that much ground, it was a remarkable race. I wanted to see that horse's name up there, because we knew he was brilliant from day one. "I was blown away", Mara said via the New York Post.

Chris Mara has won two Super Bowl championships with the Giants and now he is a Triple Crown champion, too.

"I think he's the greatest of all time", Smith said.

"From his first start, you could see that he was a very, very impressive colt", John Gunther of Langley, B.C., who bred Justify at his Kentucky farm, told CTV Vancouver before the race.

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