Sports

Owners: Triple Crown winner Justify will race again

Owners: Triple Crown winner Justify will race again

Entering the race with 4/5 odds to win, could Justify become the 13th horse in history to become a Triple Crown victor?

After the horse won its first two races, he knew Justify was an incredible raw talent, capable of history.

Justify, who is 6-0 and is the first horse to sweep the series without racing at age 2, beat nine others to win - more competition than any other Triple Crown victor has beaten in the Belmont. It's the pinnacle of a career that has seen him win more than 5,400 races, including a record 26 in the Breeders' Cup, and now seven Triple Crown races. Of those 35, only 12 have won The Run for the Carnations to complete the feat.

Enter American Pharoah, who effortlessly floated around the expansive Belmont Park oval in 2015, then turned for home and hit the gas, pulling away from the field to send the capacity crowd into a prolonged state of euphoria. It was the 150th running of the race and in that time only the best horses have managed to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Justify is seeking to become horse racing's 13th Triple Crown victor and second in four years when he runs in the Belmont Stakes. At that point, Smith asked Justify for a bit more speed.

So for the moment, at least, he sounded just like Zayat, who showed up at Justify's barn on Sunday to congratulate the horse's trainer, Bob Baffert, who also trained American Pharoah.

Baffert never wants to discuss his own legacy, but Justify's victory stamped him as perhaps the greatest trainer in the history of his sport. He said, 'He's standing good.

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For now, the owners of Justify - which also includes Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing - are taking a circumspect approach to the horse's future.

Less than a month later, Justify became the first Kentucky Derby victor to go unraced as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882. "In the modern day we don't get in a rush with these horses", Baffert told USA Today days before the Derby. "If they're great, they're going to win the Triple Crown". "A lot of it's just kind of a gut feel about each horse". A $15 million boost to $75 million overall would make the colt the most valuable should he sell, eclipsing the $70 million Coolmore once paid for 2000 Kentucky Derby victor Fusaichi Pegasus. I think it's changed.

Smith was calm and confident before and during the race, so much so that he told a story about how Baffert told him the night before that if he had to whip Justify at the top of the stretch that they'd be in trouble.

"As I say, I've got to give all the credit to my daughter who planned the mating of Justify, and my staff at Glennwood".

Justify dominated the Derby last month but won the Preakness in a closer race two weeks later.

He is bidding to join Seattle Slew in 1977 as the only undefeated Triple Crown champions.


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