sport news – Justify claims Triple Crown with Belmont Stakes win
(Reuters) – Justify gained the Belmont Stakes in New York on Saturday to say U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, turning into simply the second horse to realize the feat since 1978 and the 13th total.
The favored three-year-old chestnut colt took an early lead he by no means relinquished as he stormed across the 1.5 mile (12-furlong) course in two minutes 28.18 seconds for the wire-to-wire win at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
The 24-1 long-shot Gronkowski battled from the again of the pack to cross the road second, virtually two size’s behind Justify, whereas the 5-1 Hofburg completed third amid overcast however dry situations.
The victory marks the second Triple Crown win for Corridor of Fame coach Bob Baffert, who additionally gained the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes with American Pharoah in 2015.
“This by no means will get previous,” an emotional Baffert stated after the race.
“American Pharoah, he’ll all the time be my old flame. For this horse to do it for (jockey) Mike Smith, he deserved one thing like this. It feels fairly good.
“He’s a superior horse. He might have gained each race on the undercard as we speak, he’s simply that type of horse.”
The massive and muscular Justify, owned by China Horse Membership, Head of Plains Companions, Starlight Racing & WinStar Farm, was ridden to victory by the veteran Smith.
At 52, Smith is the oldest jockey to ever win the Triple Crown.
“This horse ran an amazing race. He’s so gifted he’s despatched from heaven,” Smith stated of Justify, who was the 4/5 favourite.
“He’s simply sensible.”
Saturday’s race, the 150th operating of the Belmont Stakes, marked the fifth time Baffert got here to Belmont with a shot on the Triple Crown.
Reporting by Rory Carroll; Further reporting by Andrew Each; modifying by Clare Fallon / Ian Ransom