Justify wins Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown champ

Justify became only the 13th horse in history to win the Triple Crown Saturday at Belmont Stakes.

And Baffert trained him to his 15th Triple Crown victory - five Kentucky Derby wins; seven Preakness wins; three Belmont wins - putting him one win in front of his old rival and friend D. Wayne Lukas, who trained Bravazo to a sixth-place finish in the Belmont.

The fantastic comet that is Justify proved that, bursting on the scene to win the Kentucky Derby, surviving the fog to win the Preakness, then leading wire-to-wire over the mile-and-a-half on Saturday to become just the sport's 13th Triple Crown champion.

Justify was running with a clear lead, but jockey Mike Smith was not in danger of burning out his horse because none of the other nine competitors in the race were making a serious challenge at that point.

Gronkowski finished second in the race. Baffert said he was taken aback by the reaction of the other horses in the barn when Justify entered the building, so to speak.

"This horse ran a tremendous race".

A colt with a Canadian connection has made history as just the 13th horse to win horse racing's Triple Crown.

From the first turn through the back stretch, Restoring Hope hung right off Justify, pinning Bravazo to the rail, whose late charge in the shorter Preakness Stakes almost overtook Justify in that race.

Among those expected to be on hand is New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

The win gave trainer Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown.

Justify sprinted to the lead, just ahead of stablemate Restoring Hope, a wing-man on his right shoulder, running interference through the first mile of the race. "The raw talent is there", Baffert said. "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". But trainer Chad Brown has probably seen all he wants to see of the Triple Crown champion for the time being. "He even looked like he added a few pounds from the Preakness, I mean, this horse just recovers so amazingly quick". "And I am so happy for Mike Smith". It was a different vibe than 2015, when he admittedly felt pressure to win with American Pharoah.

Smith said: "This horse is so gifted - he's sent from heaven". I'm so proud to be an American and feel this way, it's very emotional for me. Or, it will end in crushing disappointment, with a horse denying the Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor the coveted Triple Crown.

The two Todd Pletcher-trained racers, Vino Rosso (+900) and Noble Indy (+2800), will break side-by-side from gates 8 and 9 respectively.

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