Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

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

Justify with jockey Mike Smith on board crosses the finish line ahead of Gronkowski to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race and the Triple Crown. Pic AP Belmont Stakes live stream: How to watch Justify go for the Triple Crown without a TV
Betsy Taylor | 13 June, 2018, 19:18

Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm said Sunday the multi-owner group that controls Justify wants to share the horse with the public by racing him.

If he ends up in the winner's circle on Saturday, Justify will be just the second horse in the last 40 years to complete the Triple Crown.

Last year, Baffert won four races with Mor Spirit (Metropolitan Handicap), Abel Tasman (Acorn), American Anthem (Woody Stephens) and West Coast (Easy Goer). Does Justify's Triple Crown win change that thinking?

Justify's romp resulted in a quarter in 23.37, a half in 48.11 and six furlongs in 1:13.21, a fairly snappy pace for a mile and half horse race. The crowd has been capped at 90,000.

After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, Justify enters the third leg of the Triple Crown as the heavy favorite.

How many horses have managed to win the Kentucky Derby without a foundation racing as a 2-year-old? That distance isn't widely raced in North America and it calls for a combination of stamina and speed. And they come in short order.

"I knew on the first turn that it wasn't good because the way the horse was running, he was not relaxed and we still had a mile and a half to go nearly", jockey Stewart Elliott recalled recently.

On a cloudy 80-degree day at Belmont Park, Justify proved a cool customer.

Justify ridden Mike Smith leads the field at the end of the back straight at Belmont Park. Pic AP
Justify ridden Mike Smith leads the field at the end of the back straight at Belmont Park. Pic AP

Justify's breeding rights have been reportedly sold for $85 million. Justify might not need to run his absolute best if his rivals struggle to cope with the longer trip. He'll have nine horses to contend with.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor opened at the 4-5 favorite with about an hour to go before the Belmont Stakes. Bravazo finished sixth in the Derby and closed with a rush to take second in the Preakness.

Free Drop Billy (30-1) struggled at the start of the Kentucky Derby, where he was 16, but has the right style to hit the board at the Belmont. He's the only horse with experience racing at Belmont Park, having won the Peter Pan there on May 12.

"On Saturday, I couldn't believe how he walked into the paddock". Here are the odds for every contender in the field the morning of Saturday's race.

Restoring Hope, also trained by Baffert, ran interference for the champion while traveling second and deterring any threats by forcing them to go extremely wide.

Smith is clearly at the top of his game in a sport where jockeys are riding less and less in their 50s. A leading 23 Belmont winners have come out of there, including Secretariat. The 7-year-old bay horse won by 2 1/4 lengths and paid $9.10 to win - a generous price on a Baffert trainee. The great Secretariat ended a 25-year drought in 1973 in record fashion, then, four years later, Seattle Slew came along to put his flawless stamp on the feat.

Baffert broke a 37-year drought in 2015 with American Pharoah.


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