Justify arrives in N.Y. for Triple Crown bid


Justify with trainer Bob Baffert

Undefeated Justify drew the inside in a field of 10 for Saturday's Belmont Stakes on Tuesday at Citi Field. "I just feel most importantly the horse is doing well".

Trained by the legendary American racehorse trainer Bob Baffert, who also trained the 2015 Triple Crown victor American Pharoah, Justify began this year with three wins at Santa Anita, including the Santa Anita Derby, before going on to claim victories in the 2018 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

The only other horses with single-digit odds are Preakness runner-up Bravazo and Vino Rosso, both at 8-1. A win would make him the 13th Triple Crown victor, the second in four years, and would give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown victor and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith his first.

But the rest of the field isn't likely to let the three-year-old star get away easily, and Hofburg, Vino Rosso and Tenfold are just some of those still holding out hope for an upset in Elmont.

"I think, like all of us, we need Justify to wake up on the wrong side of the bed to have a chance", said Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Vino Rosso and Noble Indy with three previous Belmont wins to his name. Bravazo and Blended Citizen stand among those challengers.

The unflappable colt has already erased the "curse of Apollo," winning the 144th Kentucky Derby despite having never run as a 2-year-old, and secured the Preakness despite a thick fog and sloppy conditions.

That's been the picture painted throughout the buildup to Saturday's showdown at Belmont Park, with another two-minute outing being all that separates Justify from cementing his place in horse racing folklore. The last was with victor American Pharoah, making Wheels Up undefeated in Triple Crown sponsorship and putting everything on the line with Justify.

For the fourth time in his career, trainer Dale Romans brings a horse to Belmont Park with designs on spoiling a Triple Crown bid.

Because of the Belmont's smaller field and longer distance - 1 1/2 miles as opposed to 1 1/4 for the Derby and 1 3/16 for the Preakness - post positioning isn't necessarily an indicator of how a horse might fare.

Post time for the 150 Belmont Stakes is scheduled for 5:37 p.m. CDT Saturday.

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