Justify wins Belmont Stakes to become 13th victor of Triple Crown

Justify wins Belmont Stakes to become 13th victor of Triple Crown

Justify wins Belmont Stakes to become 13th victor of Triple Crown

The 2018 Belmont Stakes Saturday will determine whether Justify clinches the Triple Crown or comes up a race victory short.

And the horse proved his trainer prescient, winning a Triple Crown with a mesmerizing and dominant victory at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Justify won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness over sloppy tracks after heavy showers. Seattle Slew was unbeaten when he won the Triple Crown in 1977.

Justify delivered a second Triple Crown for trainer Bob Baffert, who also handled American Pharoah. If he pulls it off, he'll become the 13th thoroughbred in history to do so and only the second since 1978 when American Pharoah took the title in 2015.

Breaking from the No. 1 post and ridden by jockey Mike Smith, Justify outran nine rivals in the "Test of the Champion".

Hofburg, who finished in seventh place at the Kentucky Derby and didn't compete in the Preakness, has only won once in four races but came in second at the Florida Derby.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. That horse's first crop hasn't even raced yet.

It was the first of five mounts Smith has on the 13-race card.

Justify improved to 6-0 in a racing career that only began on February 18.

Justify, bred by John Gunther in Kentucky, emerged from the fog at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course to hold off Bravazo by half a length in the Preakness. Questions about his stamina deepened at the Preakness, where he exhausted over another muddy track and held on to win by ½ a length. "And I am so happy for Mike Smith". The next year, the classic rivalry of Affirmed and Alydar reached its peak when Affirmed inched ahead by a head to become the last Triple Crown victor until Pharoah arrived.

Baffert will saddle a second horse: 30-1 shot Restoring Hope.

"It was the most impressive debut from a racehorse I have ever seen", Moss recalled. But he likely won't be lauded as horse racing's history savior, like American Pharoah.

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