Justify Wins Triple Crown at Belmont

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Should Justify win the Belmont and become the 13th horse to successfully sweep the Triple Crown, it will be something to watch. Justify becomes the thirteenth Triple Crown victor and the first since American Pharoah in 2015. Justify gave Baffert his 16th victory as trainer in the Triple Crown series - five Kentucky Derbies, seven Preaknesses and three Belmonts - breaking a tie with D. Wayne Lukas for tops all-time. The last time there were two Triple Crown champions in the same decade was the 1970s, which produced Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed.

Justify's victory made Bob Baffert just the second trainer to win the Triple Crown twice. Before Justify, the the last was American Pharoah in 2015. So, Justify's jockey, Mike Smith, would gross $80,000.

But one of the biggest surprises of the race came when Gronkowski (the horse) finished in second place.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Why can't one of these thoroughbreds just win three athletic competitions in a row?

Justify paid $3.50 to place and $2.80 to show.

Before the Belmont Stakes, the horse's owners, primarily WinStar Farm, China Horse Club & SF Racing, negotiated a deal with Coolmore to sell the horse's breeding rights for $60 million. Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor Justify will be taking to the sprawling oval to try to become racing's 13th Triple Crown victor and second in four years with a victory in the 1 1/2-mile race.

The purse for the race is $1.5 million.

Earlier, Baffert and jockey Mike Smith teamed to win the $750,000 Ogden Phipps with Abel Tasman. The great Secretariat ended a 25-year drought in 1973 in record fashion, then, four years later, Seattle Slew came along to put his flawless stamp on the feat. All of them are long races for a horse, from just under 1 1/4 miles to 1 1/2 miles. But he shot out with a fury, took a 11/2-length lead at the quarter pole and never let a challenger get closer than that.

"I wanted to see that horse's name up there because we know he was brilliant from Day 1", Baffert said.

The chestnut colt burst onto the national scene with a 2 1/2 -length victory on a sloppy track in the Derby.

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