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Justify wins Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown champion

13 June 2018

And while there was no pent-up anguish this time around to vigorously stoke enthusiasm, Justify, ridden by the 52-year-old ironman Mike Smith, did not disappoint the crowd as he captured the 150th Belmont Stakes and become just the 13th Triple Crown victor. Remarkably, Justify did not have his first start until February 18th this year and has quickly become the pin-up horse of American racing.

Gronkowski was second, and Hofburg third. Two weeks later, Justify weathered torrential rain and a blanket of fog to win the Preakness Stakes, setting himself up for the Triple Crown bid.

Justify will be trying to become thoroughbred racing's 13th Triple Crown victor.

As Justify approached the final turn, the sound from the sold-out crowd of over 90,000 fans rose from a low murmur to an audible roar and grew with every step that he took.

The silver-haired Californian becomes only the second trainer to saddle more than one Triple Crown victor after "Sunny" Jim Fitzsimmons, who trained Gallant Fox and Omaha between the wars.

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Justify, who raced to a contested victory at the Belmont States on Saturday evening to clinch the 13th Triple Crown in horse racing history, sparked plenty of euphoria as he crossed the finish.

"I have no earthly idea what Florent was thinking or what his race strategy was", West said in an email.

Justify, the Triple Crown victor, will get a well-deserved break before racing again this year, although no date or location has been targeted. "He is a magnificent animal". Smith has never been aboard a Triple Crown victor, but at 52 he has the shrewdness and knowledge from regularly riding at Belmont Park years ago to rely on.

"Justify is a super horse".

"Smith said that when he's mounted on his horse, he follows God just as he normally would". "He is so gifted". Though it served Secretariat well, it posed a concern for Baffert, who anxious his muscular colt might get pinned against the rail if he didn't break well. In the Derby and Preakness, Justify overcame speed duels that would have cracked most horses. Vino Rosso made a move to get within a length of Justify but never improved. He's just an unbelievable horse.

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But Gronkowski went off at 24-1 and broke dead last.

Gronkowski, named for and partly owned by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, returned $13.80 and $7.

Two Triple Crown horses in four years. After the race, Smith said he didn't have much to do.

"It baffled me", Mike Repole, who owns fellow competitors Vino Rosso and Noble Indy, said, per David Grening of Daily Racing Form.

"Once they turned toward home, I felt at that point he'd hold anybody off who was coming".

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The chestnut colt with the blaze running down his face appears to have rebounded well after victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, with the most exhausting still to come.

Justify wins Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown champion