Justify captures Triple Crown, wins Belmont

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The thoroughbred now has won six races in as many tries. Questions about his stamina deepened at the Preakness, where he exhausted over another muddy track and held on to win by ½ a length.

There is no specific monetary bonus that comes along with winning the Triple Crown.

A son of the late Ashford Stud stallion Scat Daddy, Justify was among a group of yearlings bought by Kenny Troutt's WinStar operation and China Horse Club with the goal of winning the classics.

Darren Rogers, spokesman for Churchill Downs, tweeted after the Belmont that Justify would return there on Monday afternoon.

He didn't flinch when greeted by a roaring crowd as he walked onto the track.

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

Oddsmakers have liked Justify for quite some time.

The win marks the second Triple Crown for Justify's coach, trainer Bob Baffert, in just three years - he also won in 2015 with American Pharoah. Saturday's race will be run 45 years to the day that Secretariat ended a 25-year Triple Crown drought. Gallant Fox, Omaha and War Admiral accomplished the feat in the 1930s. Finally, he was sent across the country to Baffert's stable, making his first start on February 18 of this year. He inspired favorable comparisons to American Pharoah.

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ATLANTA-On Saturday afternoon, 11Alive Sports and NBC Sports will offer exclusive streaming access to the 150th running of The Belmont Stakes, the final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown series.

The strapping chestnut colt, trained by Bob Baffert and rode by Mike Smith, broke well out of the gate and led the one-and-a-half-mile race from wire to wire, pulling away down the homestretch in a finishing time of 2:28.18 amid a deafening crescendo from the crowd of more than 90,000 at Belmont Park, the venerable race course just outside NY city limits.

Three years later, a strapping chestnut colt named Justify, with a white blaze, a sweeping stride and an unblemished record, came back to the site where American Pharoah had vanquished horse racing's ghosts - with the same trainer, but his own shot at making history.

"This horse ran a tremendous race", said an emotional Smith. "He's so gifted. He's sent from heaven". "I don't see why not go to the Belmont, as long as he stays like this". But Smith turned it into an advantage, gunning Justify to the lead and defying any horse to challenge.

Smith got the big colt into a relaxed rhythm under a moderate pace heading into the backstretch, and he had an easy trip from there. If rain falls and turns it sloppy, Justify should feel right at home. "There's no one more deserving than him".

Among those expected to be on hand is New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Hofburg paid $3.70 to show.

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