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Justify wins Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown champ

10 June, 2018, 05:43 | Author: Christina Hansen
  • Tenfold a three-year-old thoroughbred is looking to beat Justify at the Belmont Stakes Saturday running in support of Homes For Our Troops a nonprofit that builds homes for severely injured post-9/11 veterans

A $500,000 purchase by the WinStar Farm entity Maverick Racing and China Horse Club from breeder John Gunther's Glennwood Farm at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale, Justify joined American Pharoah as the second Triple Crown victor in a four-year period to have gone through the auction ring.

Prior to his victory, the thoroughbred had a flawless 5-0 record in his brief career and had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Justify was the Belmont's wire-to-wire leader, jumping to a lead out of the gate and never relinquishing it.

A crowd capped at 90,000 spectators roared its approval as the imposing chestnut colt prevailed for the sixth time in less than four months in a whirlwind campaign that allowed him to join Seattle Slew as the only undefeated Triple Crown winners.

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Baffert, who had three near-misses with Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem before American Pharoah broke the 37-year Triple Crown drought in 2015, said Justify is built to power through the fatigue caused by running on the slop twice against high-caliber competition.

Mike Smith, at 52, is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. It was a far cry from the first two waterlogged Triple Crown races.

"I wanted to see that horse's name up there because we know he was brilliant from Day 1", Baffert said. American Pharoah brought in total prize money of $8.7 million-and after retiring, he has commanded a $200,000 fee for each healthy foal he sired. Restoring Hope will have a new jockey Saturday since Smith will be busy riding Justify. The 7-year-old bay horse won by 2 1/4 lengths and paid $9.10 to win - a generous price on a Baffert trainee. The two horses share the same trainer in Bob Baffert.

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The thoroughbred now has won six races in as many tries.

It was the first of five mounts Smith has on the 13-race card. Skies were sunny and the temperature was forecast for 73 degrees when the Belmont Stakes ran early Saturday evening.

He won the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville on May 5, becoming the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the "Run for the Roses" without a start as a two-year-old, breaking the so-called "Curse of Apollo".

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