For Justify Jockey Mike Smith, Sharing Triple Crown With Mom 'Meant Everything'

The hitherto undefeated horse became "the first since 1882 to win a Kentucky Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old", according to a New York Times article entitled Simply Perfect.

With a breathtaking wire-to-wire tour de force under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, undefeated Justify became racing's 13th Triple Crown victor on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park, sweeping to a one-and-three-quarter length victory over Gronkowski to add the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets to his victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. When the attendees began to take their seats after 6 p.m., they were greeted not by races but by 90s-band Third Eye Blind.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran poses with the Triple Crown Trophy, awarded to Justify. Then came the final furlong of the fastest Belmont since the advent of modern timing. He said, 'He's standing good.

Three races at various distances on three different tracks over a span of five weeks. In 2015, Baffert won with American Pharoah, the last horse to capture the title. Bravazo finished second in the Preakness and Hofburg was sired by Tapit, whose sons have won two of the last races in the Belmont, which is run at a 1 1/2 mile. "He was able to go ahead and get a comfortable lead and let him get in that rhythm of his".

The additional length at Belmont often tires out these horses, Zito said.

Justify has to overcome the No. 1 post position and Baffert will be watching closely to see if the colt breaks cleanly from the gate.

On Saturday, Justify became the 13th horse to accomplish that impressive feat. "He's got such a natural high cruising speed and he can just kind of keep on going".

Triple Crown victor Justify was the center of the sports world on Saturday. Smith faced the pressure of helping Justify take that final step to become the sport's 13th Triple Crown victor.

Jun 9, 2018; Elmont, NY, USA; Mike Smith aboard Justify wins the 150th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.

Justify began his racing career on February 18, a scant 77 days before the Derby.

It worked to perfection as Smith put an exclamation point on his illustrious career, guiding Justify to victory in the 1½-mile race that was over with an eighth of a mile to go.

Justify won the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/2 lengths and triumphed narrowly at the Preakness Stakes - both races run in sloppy conditions. A crowd capped at 90,000 is expected for a chance to witness history.

"(Justify) was showing me the same signs (as American Pharoah)", Baffert told NBC Sports after the race. "Once he enters the building, it'll be like Elvis".

As was the case with American Pharoah, who ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought, spectators waited as the van carrying Justify turned the corner before stopping in front of Baffert's barn.

Justify will try to immortalize his name and join such horses as Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Citation and Secretariat when he runs in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.


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