Justify? No more arguments

June 9th, 2018

Justify wins the Triple Crown.

Saturday, June 9, Belmont Park, NY

“He left there like he was going 440 at Ruidoso,” said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who had just won the 1-1/2-mile Belmont Stakes aboard Justify to claim the Triple Crown. Justify is one of only 13 horses to have won the Triple Crown since 1919, when Sir Barton took the first.

Justify is also the only other Triple Crown winner besides Seattle Slew to come into the Belmont Stakes undefeated. However, Seattle Slew began his career as a 2-year-old; Justify did not make his debut until February 18, 2018, when he was three.

“It was almost like getting a Quarter Horse ready to run,” said Justify’s Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, referring to the short time span between the stallion’s first start and the Kentucky Derby.

Baffert won the Triple Crown in 2015 with American Pharoah and is now tied with James “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons (Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935) for most winners in the 99-year history of the Triple Crown.

“Bob made my dream come true,” said Mike Smith, who at 52 became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. Early in their careers, Baffert and Smith both raced at New Mexico’s Ruidoso Downs, where the first leg of Quarter racing’s Triple Crown, the $1 million Ruidoso Futurity takes place on Sunday, June 10.