Baffert has winning day, 3 times over, at Belmont Stakes

Baffert has winning day, 3 times over, at Belmont Stakes

Justify with jockey Mike Smith aboard wins the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, U.S., June 9, 2018.

Baffert came into the year with 12 Triple Crown race wins before tying James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons for second place with Justify's victory at the Kentucky Derby and then tying Lukas last month the Preakness.

Prior to the Belmont Stakes, Justify's owners, WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing, made a deal with Coolmore to sell the horse's breeding rights for $60 million.

Justify raced to victory at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday to become the 13th Triple Crown champion.

Twenty-three times a horse has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown only to be denied horse racing's ultimate glory by failing to win the Belmont Stakes in NY.

Being that valuable might make it hard for the horse to get back on the track again, though ownership seemed optimistic after the win that it was possible.

The season-ending Breeders' Cup world championships are in Louisville on November 2-3. So when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, the hoards of joyous horse racing fans shook Belmont Park, right outside New York City, to its core.

Smith said Justify was so calm in the gate that he was anxious he might not break.

Justify ridden Mike Smith leads the field at the end of the back straight at Belmont Park. Pic AP
Justify ridden Mike Smith leads the field at the end of the back straight at Belmont Park. Pic AP

Justify will break from the No. 1 post in the starting gate.

If Justify succeeds in sweeping the Triple Crown just three years after American Pharoah, it wouldn't be the first time it has happened close together.

Justify had to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

"Mike great, obviously, and Justify is probably a great horse", said trainer Bill Mott, whose Hofburg finished third, 3½ behind Justify.

Justify ran the longest race of the series in 2:28.18 and paid $3.60, $3.50 and $2.80.

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.

Justify's victory gives racing its second Triple Crown victor of the decade. "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". Instead of thanking the horse's owner and the trainer, the very first thing he told NBC while being interviewed on horseback following the race, "First of all, I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ". "But if you win the Triple Crown you become a legend and that is what he is now".

The Patriots, of course, were victim to the Giants in both Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI, where tight end Rob Gronkowski just narrowly missed hauling in a hail mary on the final play of the game. A plan will be formulated once the chestnut colt recovers from a compressed schedule that saw him win six races over 111 days since his debut February 18.

Signing Marouane Fellaini would offer Arsenal something different - Ray Parlour
The Red Devils signed the Belgium global in a £75m deal from Premier League rivals Everton in the 2017 summer transfer window. Fellaini is expected to leave Manchester United this summer, after refusing to sign a new deal with the club.

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