Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Justify wins the Belmont Stakes and completes the Triple Crown

Justify wins the Belmont Stakes and completes the Triple Crown

China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners' undefeated Justify, who sold at Keeneland's 2016 September Yearling Sale for $500,000, became Thoroughbred racing's 13 Triple Crown victor when he scored a front-running victory in Saturday's 150 running of the $1.5 million Belmont Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) at Belmont Park.

Justify was one of two horses in the Belmont Stakes trained by racing legend Bob Baffert and the other, Restoring Hope, is being accused of blocking for the favourite.

Justify became the 13th thoroughbred to win horse racing's Triple Crown. "If my horse would have broke on top, I would have been on the lead and Justify laying second".

"I don't see how (Restoring Hope) got in anyone's way", the jockey told CNN Sport's Don Riddell.

Long Islander Mike Repole, co-owner of also-rans Vino Rosso and Noble Indy, thinks so. Galloping through fractions of 23.37 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 48.11 for the half, 1:13.21 for three quarters and 1:38.09 for the mile, Justify entered the far turn without having been asked for run, still two lengths clear of his stablemate and closest rival, with Bravazo hanging on in third.

The victory over Belmont Park's sweeping 1 ½-mile oval was the sixth straight for Justify, who joined Seattle Slew - also a wire-to-wire Belmont victor in 1977 - as the only undefeated winners of the Triple Crown.

Justify's hall-of-fame trainer Bob Baffert said the win was meant to be. That said, Justify is now worth more as a healthy stud than he could ever make on the track, so don't be surprised if his racing career has come to an end.

'I have no earthly idea what Florent was thinking or what his race strategy was, ' he said in an email to the New York Post. None of the other nine horses had a chance to catch him. Maybe the horse was completely out of control and Florent had no choice.

"He has natural speed", Baffert said. They've been running rabbits in races for years, and Noble Indy was not a rabbit.

Steve Lewandowski, the New York Gaming Commission steward, said there was no plan to question Geroux, the Daily Racing Form reported.

Preparations at Churchill Downs include posting new signs on trainer Bob Baffert's barn 33 that identify Justify as the 2018 Triple Crown victor just below the 2015 sign for American Pharoah.

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