Gronkowski (The Horse) Finishes Second In Belmont Stakes
10 June, 2018, 06:29 | Author: Ellis Copeland
He won his first three races by a combined 19 lengths, making trainer Bob Baffert a believer.
At 6-0, he's the second undefeated Triple Crown victor; he's the first to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont without racing at age 2; and he's the only horse to beat nine rivals in the Belmont with a Triple try on the line.
Now the prodigious colt enters a storied roll of equine athletes to sweep America's three most celebrated races, joining Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978) and American Pharoah (2015). American Pharoah brought in total prize money of $8.7 million-and after retiring, he has commanded a $200,000 fee for each healthy foal he sired. He's never lost a race in his life, and watching him run just once makes it apparent why.
Twelve out of the last 13 times the horse who won the Derby and Preakness lost the Belmont.
Justify opened his bid with a 2 ½-length victory on a sloppy track in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby on May 5.
Justify was able to break quickly and avoid even a hint of traffic or jostling.
Mike Smith, at 52, is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.
After his first few months in training, Justify had a little time off before he was sent to trainer Rodolphe Brisset's barn at Keeneland, where he would have his first several breezes on the racetrack.
The crowd of roughly 90,000 fans and bettors around the world clearly expect Justify to win the Triple Crown. He got a wide trip in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and by some accounts, should have been awarded Horse of the Year based on his previous races. He was able to distance himself from that challenger, and when he asked Justify to pick up the pace during the middle of the stretch run, he was in excellent shape.
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