Justify claims Triple Crown with victory at Belmont Stakes, video

Justify claims Triple Crown with victory at Belmont Stakes, video

Justify claims Triple Crown with victory at Belmont Stakes, video

The difficulty in horse racing's Triple Crown is that the races are at different lengths, at different tracks, requiring different combinations of talents (just like baseball's Triple Crown), with different sets of competitors.

"The whole time he was so professional", Smith said of Justify after the race.

Next Saturday, Justify's owners, along with trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith, will receive their engraved Kentucky Derby trophies at Churchill.

When American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015, America hadn't seen one in 37 years.

An hour after his historic win aboard Justify, jockey Mike Smith sat in front of a crowded room of reporters, describing what it was like for an "old man" of 52 to finally win a Triple Crown. A crowd capped at 90,000 is expected at Belmont Park. The big chestnut colt with the appetite to match burst onto the national scene with a 2-length victory on a sloppy track in the Derby.

Justify led for the entire race and completed the mile and a half in an unofficial time of 2 minutes 28.18 seconds. That distance isn't widely raced in North America and it calls for a combination of stamina and speed. Trainers are looking for experienced riders to lead their thoroughbreds to victory, and no one knows horse racing better than Smith.

Now starts the long-shots, as Tenfold is 10/1 to win the Belmont Stakes. It is also the third race in a hard stretch of contests, and most horses run out of gas by this point. Belmont Park's deep, sandy surface can prove tiring, too.

Jockey Jose Ortiz rode the rail through the final turn of the 1 1/2-mile test, angled out, and loomed behind Justify, ready to break plenty of hearts.

Justify always runs through the wire.

Justify, the 13th horse ever to win the Triple Crown, is partially owned by a company controlled by the top employees of Jewish investor George Soros. He'll have nine horses to contend with.

He was the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a two-year-old. It won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver, trained by Todd Pletcher.

Justify held off a late-charge from Gronkowski, named after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowskim, the the Giants beat in Super Bowl XLVI.

One owner believes that there was something suspicious about how the race was handled by Restoring Hope, a stablemate of Justify's, with both horses trained by Bob Baffert. Slew also was a wire-to-wire Belmont victor. The last Triple Crown from that spot at the Belmont was Secretariat, 45 years ago to the day Saturday.

Baffert was asked to compare Justify to American Pharoah. This means that Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha (1935) were all retroactively added to the list. The 1940s saw Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault and Citation achieve racing immortality.

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