Sports

Justify Returns To Churchill Downs, Could Parade On Stephen Foster Night

Justify Returns To Churchill Downs, Could Parade On Stephen Foster Night

Mike Repole, the co-owner of Vino Rosso and Noble Indy - who finished fourth and last respectively - took exception to the actions of Restoring Hope jockey Florent Geroux Saturday.

While admiring Justify, who led wire-to-wire to become the 13th Triple Crown victor, Repole compared the 37-1 Restoring Hope's tactics to a football play. "It definitely seemed to me he was more of an offensive lineman than a racehorse trying to win the Belmont", says Repole of Restoring Hope, "and Justify was a running back trying to run for a touchdown".

Justify's hall-of-fame trainer Bob Baffert said the win was meant to be. "I would expect that probably in the next few days the NY stewards should at least ask him what he was thinking and what happened".

Baffert can expect to hear from officials at several tracks eager to lure racing's newest superstar, much like he did with American Pharaoh.

Velazquez, who was riding Vino Rosso, added, "Why would you send a horse that breaks bad and take everybody out, then come back in?"

Restoring Hope's owner, Gary West, was among those frustrated with the race.

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Repole did tell The Post he considers Justify a "super horse", regardless of his questions about the Belmont.

The Triple Crown victor arrived at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Monday for rest and relaxation. "Had I known better, the first eighth of a mile I would have thought it was a quarter-horse race, not the mile-and-a-half Belmont".

He's also just the second trainer ever to win two Triple Crowns, having also won with American Pharoah in 2015. Maybe the horse was completely out of control and Florent had no choice.

"I wanted to see that horse's name up there (with the other greats) because we know he was brilliant from day one", he told reporters. He won his first three races by a combined 19 lengths, making trainer Bob Baffert a believer.

At 6-0, he's the second undefeated Triple Crown victor; he's the first to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont without racing at age 2; and he's the only horse to beat nine rivals in the Belmont with a Triple try on the line.

Chris Kay, president of the New York Racing Association, joked that he would "hold Bode hostage until they make the decision", referring to Baffert's 13-year-old son.


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