Justify back at Churchill as fans bask in Triple Crown glory

On Saturday Justify became just the 13th horse in history to win the Triple Crown, defeating yet another crowded field of talented horses en route to adding another win to his undefeated record.

Restoring Hope, also trained by Baffert, ran interference for the champion while traveling second and deterring any threats by forcing them to go extremely wide. Racing officials have not yet received confirmation from Baffert, but they remain hopeful that the colt could be paraded in conjunction with the presentation of the Kentucky Derby trophy to his connections. Justify is the 13th Triple Crown victor! Justify's victory gives racing its second Triple Crown victor of the decade.

Vino Rosso finished fourth, followed by Tenfold, Bravazo, Free Drop Billy, Restoring Hope, Blended Citizen and Noble Indy.

"It definitely seemed to me he was more of an offensive lineman than a racehorse trying to win the Belmont", said Repole of 37-1 Restoring Hope, "and Justify was a running back trying to run for a touchdown".

'Bob just wanted me to get good position, he wanted the horse to be forwardly placed, second or third, you don't see too many closers from Baffert, ' Geroux told the racing magazine.

Justify defied the hard post position along the rail, breaking well and taking the lead within seconds. 'I would have thought Baffert would have wanted Restoring Hope nowhere close to the pace'.

'The plan was to sit off Justify, ' the trainer said.

Following the race Geroux admitted that he struggled to keep control of Restroing Hope, while owner Gary West told the New York Post that he didn't like the way Restoring Hope raced and that he didn't understand Geroux's race strategy. The mile-and-a-half track at Belmont, significantly longer than the first two races in the Triple Crown, is known as the test of champions and the hardest race in the series. "I will never know".

Baffert also trained Triple Crown victor American Pharoah in 2015. "My horse broke a step slow and Justify was already in front of me".

The victor is given a blanket of roses, so the race is also known as the "run for the roses".

But the owner says he hopes the NY racing stewards talk to Geroux about his ride. "His only chance was to be up near the lead in the first wave because he's like a one-dimensional horse".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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