The 13 Horses That Have Won the Triple Crown, As Justify Prevails

Justify will make his first post Triple Crown appearance at Churchill Downs on Saturday

Justify will make his first post Triple Crown appearance at Churchill Downs on Saturday

He conquered the slop on May 5 to become the first horse since 1882 to win a Kentucky Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old and followed that feat with a damp and daring Preakness victory through soupy fog on May 16 that sent him to NY with the crown on the line.

Justify ran a strong race about 90 percent of the way, but dragged some down the final stretch. Justify won the first two legs on sloppy tracks.

Though their running styles and strides are different, Baffert said there is only one thing that matters at the end of the day: they're fast.

Justify lived up to his billing as the prohibitive favorite in the Belmont Stakes with a wire-to-wire victory on Saturday.

It worked to perfection as Smith put an exclamation point on his illustrious career, guiding Justify to victory in the 1½-mile race that was over with an eighth of a mile to go.

Welcome to the Guardian's live coverage of the 150 running of the Belmont Stakes in NY, a race that will be watched live by a sell-out crowd of 90,000 fans crammed in to Belmont Park and followed by millions more across the United States and around the globe, as Justify attempts to become only the 13 horse in USA racing history to win the Triple Crown.

Seattle Slew's Triple Crown - four years after that of Secretariat, was swiftly followed by Affirmed's in 1978.

Bob Baffert is 2-for-2 at Belmont Park so far.

The Hall of Fame trainer has won the $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational with Hoppertunity. 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. He stood so quietly in the starting gate that jockey Mike Smith wondered if he'd respond when it sprang open.

The way things went this year, don't be surprised to see Smith riding a good one in next year's Triple Crown races.

The food in some ways is typically NY: pizza, wings, hot dogs and beer.

The pressure was intense and "Big Money Mike" reacted like a veteran. That'll be run later Saturday.

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Justify joins Seattle Slew as the only two undefeated horses to win the Triple Crown.

I also like Vino Rosso to contend on Saturday.

"He probably broke better today than he has out of the other two (Derby and Preakness), to be honest with you", Smith said.

"Our focus was on each race as they came up", Walden said after unveiling Justify's Triple Crown banner inside Belmont Park.

It will be the first time Justify runs on a dry track in the Triple Crown series. "You look at 170,000 people yelling and screaming at the Kentucky Derby and he doesn't even turn a hair".

Justify defied all the odds on his way to achieving Triple Crown immortality.

Gronkowski, named for and partly owned by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, returned $13.80 and $7 in his US debut after arriving from England. His equine counterpart named Gronkowski is a 22-1 shot in the Belmont. The football star has purchased a small interest in the colt.

And while there was no pent-up anguish this time around to vigorously stoke enthusiasm, Justify, ridden by the 52-year-old ironman Mike Smith, did not disappoint the crowd as he captured the 150th Belmont Stakes and become just the 13th Triple Crown victor.

Justify was sired by Champagne Stakes and Florida Derby champion Scat Daddy and was born at Glenwood Farm in Versailles, Kentucky.

Is Baffert the greatest trainer of all-time? He did so in 2015 with American Pharoah, a colt that ended a 37-year drought. It showed with Curlin when he was clobbered at the start, taken out of his game, and forced to come from well back for the first time in his short career.

How many horses have managed to win the Kentucky Derby without a foundation racing as a 2-year-old? Sent to the front and able to clear a brief scramble for the lead, Justify set up shop through a measured six furlongs in 1:13.21 with stablemate Restoring Hope (Giant's Causeway) acting as a buffer of sorts on his outside flank, keeping Bravazo (Awesome Again) hemmed in along the rail. The forecast calls for 80 degrees and a 20 percent chance of rain.

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