Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Justify clinches Triple Crown with win at Belmont Stakes

Justify clinches Triple Crown with win at Belmont Stakes

"The raw talent is there", Baffert said.

"Why would you send a horse that breaks bad and take everybody out, then come back in?" "It was meant to be".

Along with Pharoah, Justify now joins the following horses as Triple Crown winners - Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978).

A colt with a Canadian connection has made history as just the 13th horse to win horse racing's Triple Crown.

American Pharoah was the last horse to win all three races in 2015.

Save for a news helicopter circling during training hours, the scene was as mellow as could be - three years between Triple Crown attempts will have such an effect.

"It never gets old, " Baffert said. "But you know, Pharoah was my first Triple Crown victor".

Baffert, who trained both Restoring Hope and Justified, and Geroux both denied the allegation of collusion, saying that Restoring Hope simply couldn't be restrained.

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Smith, at 52, is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

The last time there was a Triple Crown coronation, President Barack Obama was still in office, Princess Charlotte was a month old and the long-suffering Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series since 1908. He raced three more times after the Belmont Stakes, capping his career with a resounding victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic. "I probably expect them to look into reckless riding by Florent and bring him in to question him about what he was thinking and what his tactics were". He's sent from heaven, it's just wonderful.

Smith told reporters, "I just want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing us on this afternoon, and blessing us with this unbelievable horse". The weather in California [where Baffert is based] is very consistent; [Justify] was going into training late; I thought that was something that was a consideration. He earned $800,000 for winning the Belmont, boosting his career total to nearly $3.8 million.

Even so, Justify enjoyed a dry track on Saturday and led the race from start to finish.

The first horse to load in the gate, Justify stayed so still and steady as the other nine followed suit that Smith anxious for a moment that he might not break at all.

"He's so brilliant. Did you see him in the gate, he's standing so still", Smith said. He did it right up on the pace, and everybody had an opportunity to take their shot. He had to get away from him so they wouldn't go so fast'.

Gronkowski, named for and partly owned by the New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, returned $13.80 and $7. "Mike and I didn't discuss a plan B".

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