Justify to be celebrated during Saturday’s ‘Downs After Dark’ at Churchill Downs
14 June, 2018, 07:47 | Author: Anita Tucker
With a breathtaking wire-to-wire tour de force under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, undefeated Justify became racing's 13th Triple Crown victor on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park, sweeping to a one-and-three-quarter length victory over Gronkowski to add the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets to his victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
'JUSTIFY' became the 13th horse in history to capture the prestigious Triple Crown of American Horse racing last Saturday - and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has predicted that the historic win will be a "great boost" to Desert Star Holdings' own Pearl of the Caribbean horse-racing track in St. Lucia.
Baffert, jockey Mike Smith and Justify's owners will receive engraved trophies for winning the Kentucky Derby during Saturday night's card.
He even likened 52-year-old jockey, Mike Smith, to quarterback Eli Manning.
Justify has won all six races he has run this year - Seattle Slew was the only other undefeated horse to win the Triple Crown in 1977.
But American Pharoah and Justify are showing that the Triple Crown is now an attainable goal in the horse-racing industry.
The Belmont Stakes is known for a lot of things, from being the crowning glory of a grueling five-week race series to a crushing spoiler for runners and their connections attempting to earn racing immortality with a Triple Crown.
The 24-1 long-shot Gronkowski battled from the back of the pack to cross the line second, nearly two length's behind Justify, while the 5-1 Hofburg finished third. Since then, he's run in more than 33,000 races and won almost 5,500, as his horses have purse earned more than $300 million. But Smith turned it into an advantage, gunning Justify to the lead and defying any horse to challenge.
Back in NY where he dominated in the 1990s, Smith took Justify on a walk past the packed grandstand, soaking in the cheers and giving the crowd a closer look at racing's newest hero.
Bob Baffert has done everything he can with Justify. "He's so gifted. He's sent from heaven". I tell you, it's just fantastic.
With no credible new challengers appearing on the scene, T&T may just be fortunate enough to experience two brothers, the General, and his brother Momentum, as Triple Crown winners. On Saturday, he joined Seattle Slew (1977) as the only other Triple Crown victor with an undefeated record.
"Did you see him standing in the gate?"
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Smith got the colt into a relaxed rhythm under a moderate pace heading into the backstretch, and he had an easy trip from there. If rain falls and turns it sloppy, Justify should feel right at home.
Forget racing friends - I didn't know anyone who liked horses when I was 10.
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