Sport

Justified: Unbeaten 2-year-old completes improbable Triple Crown

Justified: Unbeaten 2-year-old completes improbable Triple Crown

In sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, Smith becomes the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

Gronkowski finished second in the 1 1/2 mile race.

Yes, winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont within a five-week window is an incredible challenge.

Find out what the race's participants had to say after the 2018 Belmont Stakes.

The 4-5 favorite's wire-to-wire victory means an $800,000 share of the overall $1.5 million purse and millions in future stud fees for the three-year-old chestnut colt, who beat nine other horses to take the victory. Only Seattle Slew in 1977 was also undefeated when he won the Triple Crown.

Justify is only the second horse since 1978 to earn the Triple Crown, widely considered the greatest accomplishment in thoroughbred racing, which comes from winning three high-profile US races: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

Baffert's tied Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons as the only trainer to saddle two Triple Crown winners. Baffert oversaw American Pharoah's Triple Crown success in 2015 and has used the same methods with Justify. Baffert, head turned, watched his handiwork in HD with a small smile that refused go away.

Justify's stunning rise puts him in the pantheon of great horses. "A lot of it's just kind of a gut feel about each horse". Without Him, I wouldn't have all the success I do. "His disposition's wonderful", Smith told the New York Post.

"He was showing me the same signs (as American Pharoah)", Baffert said of Justify. "When he was that far back early, I said to myself, 'This is not going to end well.' He's just so far back, and there are quality horses in front of him, and then I saw the fractions and said, 'How is this horse going to close?'"




"Bob has helped me achieve so many of my goals, but today, man, he made my dream come true", an emotional Smith said. The last horse to accomplish the feat was American Pharoah in 2015.

Justify became the second undefeated Triple Crown victor after Seattle Slew in 1977, finishing first in a field of 10. We saw another Triple Crown victor.

Justify started out hot on Saturday, taking a two-length lead over the rest of the field.

Wallace was still pinching himself hours after the race as the team around Justify set out to celebrate the unique achievement.

Exactly 111 days from his first start on February 18, Justify, a massive colt with early speed that chills competition, a ideal stride that is repeatable, and an obvious will to finish first, bolted to a clear lead at the start of Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

Justify, the Triple Crown victor, will get a well-deserved break before racing again this year, although no date or location has been targeted.

Smith's riding career began in 1982.

For WinStar to part with such a promising stallion seems puzzling, but Walden often says the operation remains viable because it's willing to sell horses, too.

"I just couldn't keep it inside of me", Smith told CBN News. But jockeys say Smith's age is actually an advantage. 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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