The 13 Horses That Have Won the Triple Crown, As Justify Prevails

ELMONT NY- JUNE 09 Justify #1 ridden by jockey Mike Smith leads the field to the finish line to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park

ELMONT NY- JUNE 09 Justify #1 ridden by jockey Mike Smith leads the field to the finish line to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park

That's Bob Baffert's enduring legacy after guiding Justify to the 13th Triple Crown title in American horse-racing history on Saturday at the Belmont Stakes just three years after leading American Pharoah to the same result and breaking a 37-year Triple Crown drought.

Now owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners, Justify defeated former United Kingdom galloper Gronkowski by just on two lengths with Hofburg back in third.

The reality is the race Gronkowski ran would win quite a few Belmonts, even though the third leg of the Triple Crown is thought to be unkind to deep closers and hasn't produced a last-to-first victor since Jazil in 2006.

The late bloomer won the Belmont Stakes by 1¾ lengths on Saturday, giving the sport its 13th Triple Crown champion.

Gronkowski had never raced on dirt, had never raced farther than a mile, qualified but didn't run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) because he spiked a fever, switched trainers before the race, and only had two published works ahead of the most hard start of his career.

"I'd like to see John win the race!"

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

American Pharoah was the last horse to win the Triple Crown, capturing horse-racing's storied trifecta in 2015.

"To achieve a result like this, how do you beat it?"he said".


Like "Big Red", as Secretariat was lovingly called, Justify (an even bigger "Big Red", at 16.3 hands and 1,380 pounds, compared to a typical 1,100-pound thoroughbred), drew the No. 1 post.

The big chestnut colt burst onto the national scene with a victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Prior to his victory, the thoroughbred had a ideal 5-0 record in his brief career and had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

After winning the first two races earlier this year, Justify was the clear favourite to win Saturday's race in Elmont, New York.

The China Horse Club not only part own Justify but had the honour of him completing the Triple Crown racing in their now famous colours, which are increasingly seen around tracks in New Zealand. Many sports fans have just a passing interest in horse racing, only tuning in during May and June, when a Triple Crown's on the line.

Trainer Todd Pletcher also has two horses in the field - 8-1 Vino Rosso and 30-1 Noble Indy.

"This horse ran a tremendous race, he's so gifted", said Smith, who looked to the sky to celebrate after his ride. Restoring Hope, who like Justify is trained by Baffert, last ran May 5 but not in the Derby.

This deal makes Justify the most valuable horse in history, reports ESPN. 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 learned a lot by watching him and how he handled everything, and how he just took it one race at a time".

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