Belmont Stakes: Justify completes US Flat racing Triple Crown

Ready for a Triple Crown effort at Belmont  NEP’s John Roché and NBC Sports Group’s Keith Kice and Tim Dekime

Ready for a Triple Crown effort at Belmont NEP’s John Roché and NBC Sports Group’s Keith Kice and Tim Dekime

In a dazzling display of power and durability, the late-blooming colt who didn't race as a 2-year-old proved Saturday he couldn't be worn out as a 3-year-old, thundering to victory in the Belmont Stakes to claim a place in history as the sport's 13th Triple Crown champion. He won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness on sloppy tracks after heavy rain fell. "A bit of the greenness came out today, but he was also pushed today early on".

For his next trick, he'll need to show he can endure the grueling 1½-mile Belmont in NY on June 9.

Justify became just the second horse, after Seattle Slew, to win it while still undefeated. Baffert's 15 Triple Crown win overall moved him ahead of D. The offspring of two distance horses, Bravazo is well-suited to the Belmont Stakes' 1.5-mile distance.

Justify is now the 13th horse to win the greatest honor of horse-racing, and only the second since 1998.

ELMONT, N.Y.: Triple Crown and Belmont Stakes contender Justify trains with Humberto Gomez up prior to the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, 2018 in Elmont, New York.

Gronkowski came in second, while Hofburg finished third. Restoring Hope will have a new jockey Saturday since Smith will be busy riding Justify. We had him ready.

Post time for the Belmont Stakes is scheduled for 5:46 CDT Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, and it will be about two-and-a-half minutes before the American classic has its 150 victor.

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Slew, benefitting from three starts at 2, was flawless through eight starts before he passed the Belmont's arduous mile-and-a-half "Test of the Champion".

With Justify's victory, Bob Baffert became the second trainer to win the Triple Crown twice. "It can be tough. He was blowing pretty good, he got a good blow out of (the Preakness), but he wasn't as exhausted as we thought he was".

Justify battled nine rivals, the largest number that a potential Triple Crown victor has ever faced.

Justify, as it turns out, is just that. While it served Secretariat well, it posed a concern for Baffert, who anxious his colt might get pinned against the rail if he didn't break well. Jockey John Velazquez asked his Curlin colt to go on the attack, but he could only get to the pacesetter's hip. As he crossed the finish line, the race caller exclaimed, "American Pharoah is finally the one!"

"He was showing me the same signs", Baffert said after Justify prevailed for the sixth time in a scant 111 days.

The Belmont Stakes, to be held for the 150th time, is the longest of the triple crown races. You don't have to look any further back than the Preakness for evidence of that. "I can't describe the emotions that's going through my body right now". But Good Magic got the 2-year-old Eclipse Award. He passed that acid test by three lengths.

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