Sport

Giants' Chris Mara jabs Patriots, Gronkowski after Justify wins Triple Crown

Giants' Chris Mara jabs Patriots, Gronkowski after Justify wins Triple Crown

The large and muscular Justify, owned by China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing & WinStar Farm, was ridden to victory by the veteran Smith.

Justify captured the Belmont Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths Saturday to become just the 13th U.S. Triple Crown champion and second since 1978.

After a sun-filled day of races, an ominous cloud cover settled over Belmont Park right as Justify and the rest of the field entered the starting gate, setting the drama for the 90,327 people in attendance.

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.

He ran the longest race of the series in 2:28.18 and paid $3.60, $3.50 and $2.80. In 2015, Baffert won with American Pharoah, the last horse to capture the title. Breaking from the less-than-desired No. 1 post, Smith gunned Justify to the lead and never looked back. He won his first three races by a combined 19 lengths, making trainer Bob Baffert a believer.

The big, chestnut colt stood above the other horses with a commanding lead all the way through the homestretch Saturday in Elmont, N.Y. It was only his sixth race, and some bettors had anxious that he packed too many races into the 110 days leading up to the race, but it was no contest.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor is the early 4-5 favorite for Saturday's 11/2-mile Belmont, the longest and most grueling of the three-race series.

Chad Brown-trained Gronkowski finishes second in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.




After winning the first two races earlier this year, Justify was the clear favourite to win Saturday's race in Elmont, New York.

Justify defied all the odds on his way to achieving Triple Crown immortality. I tell you, it's just awesome.

Jockey Mike Smith, 52, is the second-oldest Kentucky Derby victor behind Bill Shoemaker.

Those are the concerns, but for betting purposes, I truly think Justify is a freak of a horse and will contend in this race.

There was one horse, however, who was a threat to Justify's Triple Crown bid at the top of the Belmont Park stretch. "Had I known better, the first eighth of a mile I would have thought it was a quarter-horse race, not the mile-and-a-half Belmont". 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).

The Patriots, of course, were victim to the Giants in both Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI, where tight end Rob Gronkowski just narrowly missed hauling in a hail mary on the final play of the game.

An impressive feat for Baffert, racing's affable, most marketable two-legged star, for sure.


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