Justify wins Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown champion

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He has won all six races he has run this year.

Jockey Florent Geroux (center in pink silks) is seen leaving the gate at the Belmont Stakes, with victor Justify on the far left.

June 9, 2018 - Justify, ridden by Mike Smith, wins the 150th Belmont Stakes. Justify is the 13 Triple Crown victor, and only the second to win the all three American Classics - Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes - in the past 40 years (American Pharoah, 2015). In thinking back to part of his rationale in allowing American Pharoah to keep running after the Triple Crown, Zayat said: "How do you deprive the sport of him?" "American Pharoah, he'll always be my first love". Superior horse. I mean, he could have won every race on the undercard today. He's just an unbelievable horse.

Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Justify went to the lead out of the starting gate and led nine rivals around the track's sweeping turns on Saturday.

Was Florent Geroux riding shotgun on long shot Restoring Hope to help stablemate Justify win Saturday's Belmont Stakes?

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Baffert seemed to acknowledge that the plan for Restoring Hope was to lay in second for the first turn, but not as part of a plan to help Justify.

Approaching the quarter pole, with the crowd on its feet and screaming, Gronkowski was hitting his best stride from far back, picking off a half-dozen rivals to gain third even as Vino Rosso was moving into second. Hofburg paid $3.70 to show.

Mike Repole, co-owner of horses that finished fourth (Vino Rosso) and last (Noble Indy) in the Belmont Stakes, advanced that idea on Sunday. Justify became the first colt in 136 years to win the Derby after not racing as a 2-year-old.

In addition to the three Triple Crown races, Justify's resume includes his maiden win, an optional claiming victory, and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, all with a combined winning margin of 23 ¾ lengths.

Justify will travel from Belmont Park to Churchill Downs in Kentucky to get a "week or so" off before owners decide what's next for the undefeated horse. He said, "He'll probably just be taking it easy. He looked like a bodyguard making sure nobody got close to Justify". He pricked his ears at the sound of the shutter clicks and when Baffert led him closer, he playfully bit at one camera. I think they were going pretty fast.

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