Justify dominates Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown victor

Julio Cortez  AP

Julio Cortez AP

"What an fantastic experience, my heart was pounding and I had to sit down", said Gunther, who witnessed Justify's historic run at Belmont Park. A crowd capped at 90,000 is expected for a chance to witness history.

Justify was also the fifth horse trained by Baffert to win the first two races of the Triple Crown, and those five Triple Crown attempts represent three more than any other trainer.

Justify has won all six of his career starts, four at grade one level.

For Justify, being one of the finest athletes of our time will have to do. "But if you win the Triple Crown you become a legend and that is what he is now".

"It was a steep learning curve for me personally when we started buying horse in the USA market because it was all new to us", said Wallace from the Belmont track.

Turning for home full of running, he looked to have all his rivals toiling, although the ex-Jeremy Noseda-trained Gronkowski - a victor at Newcastle in March - ran an awesome race to be second, having trailed the field by some distance from the stalls.

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American Pharoah ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought in 2015.

"I think he's the greatest of all time", jockey Mike Smith, 52, said about Justify. The $2 exacta from the Belmont Stakes paid out $89, and the $1 trifecta paid out $229.74 - totals that eclipsed those of both the Derby and Preakness Stakes.

"It is such a surreal feeling and one that I'm still trying to take in", he said.

Baffert, 65, became the second trainer to win two Triple Crowns, joining the late James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, whose triumphs came in 1930 and '35 with Gallant Fox and Omaha, respectively.

Fans are streaming into Belmont Park in anticipation of watching Justify try to become horse racing's 13th Triple Crown victor and second since 2015.

While it's nice to see a Triple Crown victor, it's hardly profitable for bettors.

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Baffert told NBC Sports: "It's just incredible".

While it was overshadowed by Justify's Triple Crown win, Twitter had a ball after Gronkowski - the horse - staged quite the comeback to finish second at the Belmont Stakes.

"He just puts an old man out there to sit still, who stays out of the way and lets a good horse be a good horse", Smith said, crediting Baffert for using him. "He's sent from heaven".

The white mane of Justify trainer Bob Baffert, horse whisperer to the stars, is now known the world over.

Mike Smith is hoping to win another Belmont Stakes - and help take the Triple Crown in the process. Vino Rosso made the most serious move to get within a length but never threatened. "When he was that far back early, I said to myself, 'This is not going to end well.' He's just so far back, and there are quality horses in front of him, and then I saw the fractions and said, 'How is this horse going to close?'".

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