Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Justify wins Triple Crown with victory at Belmont

Justify wins Triple Crown with victory at Belmont

Justify is only the second undefeated Triple Crown victor, following in the footsteps of Seattle Slew. ESPN reported that Justify's owners agreed to a $60 million breeding deal with European racing giant Coolmore before Saturday's race.

Elliott Walden, president and CEO of Justify's co-owner WinStar Farm, declined to comment on the report. "There is no one more deserving than him".

"I was just watching the clock".

Despite being the first undefeated Triple Crown victor since Seattle Slew in 1977, there's little expectation that Justify's victory will resonate the same way American Pharoah's did three years ago.

Among the possibilities: the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 29 at New Jersey's Monmouth Park, the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 18 and the $1.25 million Travers at Saratoga on August 25. "He's a remarkable horse to run in all three legs as well as he did".

Steve Lewandowski, the New York Gaming Commission steward, said Sunday that there is no plan to talk to Geroux. He raced three more times after the Belmont Stakes, capping his career with a resounding victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic. But it was Justify hanging on and drawing out in the final 1/16th of a mile, winning in a time of 2:28.18 by 1 3/4 lengths.

"I haven't sat down with Elliott or anything", he said. "It's the longest, quickest journey we've ever been on".

American Pharoah's 2015 victory put an end to a 37-year Triple Crown drought - a period that saw 13 horses fall short at the Belmont. He has won all six races he has run this year.

Justify completed his Triple Crown with a win at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, but trainer Bob Baffert might have given him an assist with his other horse in the race.

He quickly decided that in nearly 40 years as a jockey, he'd never ridden a more gifted 3-year-old.

Justify earned his own way to the other side, and he had to do it with few advantages other than his massive size and unique talent. "I would have thought Baffert would have wanted Restoring Hope nowhere close to the pace".

The season-ending Breeders' Cup world championships are in Louisville on November 2-3.

"Why would you send a horse that breaks bad and take everybody out, then come back in?" the jockey questioned. "When he showed that brilliance when he broke his maiden, we knew maybe he had a chance, but he was going to have to be something really special".

Baffert, who trained both Restoring Hope and Justified, and Geroux both denied the allegation of collusion, saying that Restoring Hope simply couldn't be restrained.

Trainer Bob Baffert was overcome with emotion when discussing his second Triple Crown victor.

"Unbelievable training job", said Chad Brown, victor of the past two Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer.

Baffert and his family celebrated at familiar favorite restaurant King Umberto, just down Hempstead Turnpike from the track.

Wearing a white blanket advertising his status as the sport's 13th Triple Crown victor, Justify walked laps inside the barn before coming outside to greet a slew of cameras.

There were mild bids turning for home.

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