Justify wins US Triple Crown

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Unbeaten Justify was a 4/5 odds-on favorite on Friday to win the Belmont Stakes in NY, but far from a shoo-in to complete American horse racing's triple crown on Saturday.

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.

Justify became only the 13th victor of the Triple Crown, withstanding a late rush by a horse partially owned by New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski. "This horse ran a tremendous race, he's so gifted", Smith said.

Well on Saturday, Baffert again had a chance to win his second Triple Crown.

The three-year-old colt Justify won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, after previously winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the three most prestigious horse racing events of the year.

Since Wednesday, when Justify pulled up to Barn 1 at Belmont Park, minus the police escort that Pharoah had received, the trainer Bob Baffert appeared at ease.

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In doing so, he emulated Baffert's American Pharoah, who in 2015 was the first to land all three races since Affirmed in 1978.

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. Trainers are looking for experienced riders to lead their thoroughbreds to victory, and no one knows horse racing better than Smith. "A lot of it's just kind of a gut feel about each horse". "I think he's the greatest of all time", Smith said. I really believe that.

The 52-year-old jockey who was born in Roswell, grew up in Dexter and has been dominating big races in recent years put an exclamation point on his illustrious career Saturday, guiding Justify to the Triple Crown with a victory in the Belmont Stakes. "When I unloaded him the other day, those horses in that barn went nuts when they saw him".

"It is such a surreal feeling and one that I'm still trying to take in", he said. The last horse to accomplish the feat was American Pharoah in 2015.

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.

At Zona Zealots, we are excited for Bob as he won another Triple Crown!

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For now, the owners of Justify - which also includes Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing - are taking a circumspect approach to the horse's future.

In the paddock before the race, Baffert told Smith, "The gas tank is full".

Justfy made history at the Kentucky Derby in May when he galloped through thick clumps of mud to score first-place at the finish line, becoming the first colt since Apollo in 1882 to win the iconic Derby at Churchill Downs without racing as a 2-year-old. Experience has made him wiser, he said. He raced for the first time on February 19 at Santa Anita, winning by 9½ lengths.

The way things went this year, don't be surprised to see Smith riding a good one in next year's Triple Crown races.

Baffert became the second trainer along with "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons to train two Triple Crown winners, with Fitzsimmons having conditioned Gallant Fox (1930) and his son, Omaha (1935).

"He's sent from Heaven", Smith said. That could be a bit of a challenge for Justify and Bravazo, both of whom raced well in the mud; but it could mean good things for horses like Free Drop Billy and Noble Indy, who didn't.

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