Whether the son of Scat Daddy had the stamina for the 2400m trip of the Belmont was the big question, but Smith was able to cut out the fractions he wanted from the front and Justify was not hard pushed to triumph.
Justify keeps showing something new each time he races. So, even if you aren't typically a horse racing fan, you might want to tune in to see if history is made.
The drought before that lasted so long - 37 years, in fact - that many began to believe that horse racing's grand sweep would never again be accomplished. James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons guided Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935. While it served Secretariat well, it posed a concern for Baffert, who anxious his colt might get pinned against the rail if he didn't break well. He inspired favorable comparisons to American Pharoah.
Justify becomes the thirteenth Triple Crown victor and the first since American Pharoah in 2015.
A crowd capped at 90,000 spectators roared its approval as the imposing chestnut colt prevailed for the sixth time in less than four months in a whirlwind campaign that allowed him to join Seattle Slew as the only undefeated Triple Crown winners.
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The powerful colt with the blaze running the length of his face showed no signs that the rigors of running a compressed schedule had gotten to him.
Three races at various distances on three different tracks over a span of five weeks.
According to Sports Illustrated, Baffert and Smith had partnered in 2002 on the horse Vindication. "He's sent from heaven". I tell you, it's just incredible.
In the hours before the race, Justify rested in Belmont's Barn 1, across the street from a Wendy's, undistracted by the beer-soaked fans who reveled close by - including one who almost relieved himself on a tree. But Smith turned it into an advantage, gunning Justify to the lead and defying any horse to challenge.