Losing Owner Ignites a Triple Crown Brouhaha

Justify and jockey Mike Smith led the pack at the Saturday Belmont Stakes race in New York

Triple Crown victor Justify will get a well-deserved break and then race again this year, although no date or location has been targeted yet after the colt came out of his Belmont Stakes victory in good condition. That's his job, to protect the other horse, and it worked for them. Seattle Slew was unbeaten when he won the Triple Crown in 1977.

There were no surprises awaiting his rivals when Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert entered him for the Belmont last Monday.

Like he did in both his Kentucky (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) wins, Justify found his way to the front soon after the start of the Belmont and never looked back, turning away any challenge to take the "Test of the Champion" by almost two lengths.

Justify's victory moved Baffert past D. Wayne Lukas to become the winningest trainer in Triple Crown races with 15. Baffert then threw him right into the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, which he won by 3 lengths.

Baffert joined Fitzsimmons as the only trainers to oversee two Triple Crown winners.

Justify is still the fastest horse on the planet, and could potentially win more prizes on the track at the Travers Stakes or even the Breeder's Cup later in the year. Gronkowski finished second, 1 3/4 lengths back, and Hofburg was third.

Such actions, if true, can be camouflaged by the helter-skelter run for position into the quick first turn of a one-circuit race like the Belmont.

However, Restoring Hope's jockey Florent Geroux said there was no plan to clear out the competition for Justify, he simply had to adjust within the race. "Who would've thought we'd see another Triple Crown?"

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"It never gets old", Baffert said.

Baffert - who has won more Triple Crown races than anyone - complimented his team for helping the horse, which ran three major, testing races in five weeks.

Belmont second-place finisher Gronkowski, owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred III, made his North American debut in the race for owner Phoenix Thoroughbred III.

After landing at Louisville International Airport, Justify was loaded onto a van for a three-mile police escort to the backstretch of Churchill Downs.

Justify was purchased as a yearling for $500,000 and debuted less than four months ago on February 18, going on to win all five races he started. All-sources wagering on the 150th Belmont Stakes alone was $72,702,815, with an on-track handle of $6,884,907.

"It baffled me", Repole told the Daily Racing Form, according to ESPN.

Repole said he thought stewards should take a look at the race.

As for any claims of cheating to the New York Gaming Commission?

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