The reason so many horses fall short at the Belmont after fantastic runs through the first two races of the Triple Crown is the combination of the extra distance and the exhaustion carried over from the previous two races.
This time out Justify will face 9 other horses trying to keep him from sweeping the Triple Crown.
Owned by China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing & WinStar Farm, Justify was ridden to victory by 52-year-old Mike Smith who became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.
Coolmore agreed to a deal to buy American Pharoah for $10 million before the Triple Crown campaign even began, but the three wins tripled the investment, counting bonuses.
Justify's jockey, Mike Smith, has called Belmont one of his favorite tracks and is confident that he Justify will come out on top.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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The thoroughbred now has won six races in as many tries.
Smith let Justify roll through a first quarter in:23.37, then subtly eased up the tempo to mark the half-mile in:48.11.
Justify began his racing career on February 18, a scant 77 days before the Kentucky Derby. "There's no one more deserving than him". Smith will be aboard Justify in the colt's bid to become racing's 13th Triple Crown victor. Sloppy or fast track, Justify has proven he can win.
Hofburg finished third 3.5 lengths behind the victor, with Vino Rosso fourth at 3.75 lengths behind.
Seattle Slew's Triple Crown - four years after that of Secretariat, was swiftly followed by Affirmed's in 1978. But he likely won't be lauded as horse racing's history savior, like American Pharoah. He also made a late charge to grab third in that race. The next year, the classic rivalry of Affirmed and Alydar reached its peak when Affirmed inched ahead by a head to become the last Triple Crown victor until Pharoah arrived.
Restoring Hope, also trained by Baffert, ran interference for the champion while traveling second and deterring any threats by forcing them to go extremely wide.