Justify dominates Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown victor

Trainer Bob Baffert scored his second Triple Crown win, following American Pharoah in 2015.

In America, the idea of the Triple Crown being duplicated came when the Preakness, the Kentucky Derby, and the Belmont Stakes reached such prominence as to overshadow all other Spring 3-year-old events in this country.

The chestnut colt became the second undefeated horse to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, improving to 6-0 in a racing career that began on February 18.

Baffert joins "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons as the only trainers to win the Triple Crown twice.

Indeed it did. American Pharoah was a seasoned colt who followed the typical path to his date with destiny.

Baffert, 65, has trained five Kentucky Derby winners, seven Preakness Stakes winners and three Belmont winners.

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

Still, Baffert sees similarities between American Pharoah and Justify, he told the AP.

But Justify, like all the great thoroughbreds, found "another gear", Baffert said.

Mike Smith, the jockey riding Justify in Saturday night's Belmont Stakes, could have said anything in his first television interview.

At 52, Mike Smith is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

The Belmont is the oldest of the three races and is run by thoroughbred three-year-old horses. You've got to give him credit.

In the paddock before the race, Baffert told Smith, "The gas tank is full". I'm really proud of the way of the way he ran on dirt with so many things going against him. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Justify ran 1 miles - the longest race of the series - in 2:28.18 and paid $3.60, $3.50 and $2.80.

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. At that point, Smith asked Justify for a bit more speed.

"You can't doubt him now, there's no way, " said Bill Mott, trainer of third-place Hofburg. He did it right up on the pace, and everybody had an opportunity to take their shot. "They let it go too easy".

Gronkowski will draw some love from casual bettors that are also football fans, as his namesake is Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots (who is a part-owner of the horse). "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". "I learned a lot by watching him and how he handled everything, and how he just took it one race at a time".

The two Todd Pletcher-trained racers, Vino Rosso (+900) and Noble Indy (+2800), will break side-by-side from gates 8 and 9 respectively.

Fox News' Jennifer Earl and The Associated Press contributed to this Fox News report, which is used by permission.

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