On a cloudy 80-degree day at Belmont Park, Justify proved a cool customer. 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.
Remarkably Justify is one of only two horses to have won the Triple Crown while having been undefeated in any previous race; the other is Seattle Slew who feature's in the pedigree of Justify through his dam Stage Magic.
Justify also reached his high value at record speeds considering his first start was only 111 days ago on February 18. "We've been able to brand something very special in what we've accomplished". "But if you win the Triple Crown you become a legend and that is what he is now".
Post time for Saturday's big event from Belmont Park (New York City) is slated for 6:37 p.m. EST.
Justify joins a long list of champions Glennwood has bred or co-bred including First Samurai (Grade 1 winner, $915,075 earned); Mo Town (co-bred, Grade 1 winner); My Miss Sophia (second 2014 Kentucky Oaks); Stay Thirsty (co-bred, Grade 1 winner, $1.936 million); Stevie Wonderboy (co-bred, 2005 Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion, $1.059 million); and Tamarkuz (2016 Breeders' Cup dirt mile winner, $1.84 million).
Baffert admits no other horse has compared to American Pharoah - his 2015 Triple Crown victor. The $2 exacta from the Belmont Stakes paid out $89, and the $1 trifecta paid out $229.74 - totals that eclipsed those of both the Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Smith said Justify was so calm in the gate that he was anxious he might not break. Two weeks later, he survived a challenge in the fog-shrouded Preakness, winning by a half-length, again in the slop to set up a Triple Crown try. He is the second undefeated Triple Crown victor, joining Seattle Slew in 1977.
Meanwhile, if Restoring Hope really was there only to help complete the Triple Crown, it was news to his owner.
ATLANTA-On Saturday afternoon, 11Alive Sports and NBC Sports will offer exclusive streaming access to the 150th running of The Belmont Stakes, the final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown series. I tell you, it's just awesome. He's sent from heaven, it's just incredible.
This deal makes Justify the most valuable horse in history, reports ESPN. Smith will be aboard Justify in the colt's bid to become racing's 13th Triple Crown victor.
"I told him I loved him", he said. But he shot out with a fury, took a 11/2-length lead at the quarter pole and never let a challenger get closer than that.
"My thought turning for home was that he had a shot to get him if Justify was vulnerable at a mile and a half", said Gronkowski's trainer, Chad Brown, who took over the care of Phoenix Thoroughbreds' colt from Jeremy Noseda in May.
Those are the concerns, but for betting purposes, I truly think Justify is a freak of a horse and will contend in this race. The colt named for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski brings a four-race winning streak into his US debut.