Justify bags Triple Crown win in Belmont Stakes

Triple Crown victor Justify led all the way at Saturday's Belmont Stakes, but controversy arose Sunday after some raised questions about the role of another horse in the victory.

Before Saturday's Belmont Stakes, which Justify won by 1 3/4 lengths over surprise second-place finisher Gronkowski, the massive chestnut colt with the white blaze had won the Kentucky Derby by a 2 1/2-length margin, becoming the first since Apollo in 1882 to win the classic without running as a 2-year-old. "He said, 'I told him the gas tank is full, don't use it all at once.' But just real blessed because you can't find these horses, they find you".

Justify, who is 6-0 and is the first horse to sweep the series without racing at age 2, beat nine others to win - more competition than any other Triple Crown victor has beaten in the Belmont.

Justify is seeking to become horse racing's 13th Triple Crown victor and second in four years when he runs in the Belmont Stakes. He joins "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, who trained Gallant Fox and Omaha in 1930 and 1935, respectively.

"It definitely seemed to me he was more of an offensive lineman than a racehorse trying to win the Belmont", Mike Repole, the co-owner of Noble Indy and fourth-place Vino Rosso, said of Restoring Hope to the New York Post, "and Justify was a running back trying to run for a touchdown".

The 37-year wait for the Triple Crown of horse racing, mercifully ended three years ago when wonderful American Pharoah crossed the finish line first at the 2015 Belmont Stakes, was at the same time exasperating, demoralizing, and borderline comical. "I'm just so - it's a privilege to have a horse like this. We thought he was that kind of horse, but they have to prove it". Back in NY where he dominated in the 1990s, Smith took Justify on a walk past the packed grandstand, soaking in the cheers and giving the crowd a closer look at racing's newest hero. We'll never know. At the end of the day Bob had a game plan for his two jockeys, we had a game plan for our two jockeys'.

The Triple Crown win adds $15 million to that, putting Justify's outright value at $75 million.

"He was showing me the same signs (as American Pharoah)", Baffert said of Justify. "A lot of it's just kind of a gut feel about each horse". "He ran a tremendous race". I can't describe the emotions going through my body right now. "He looked like a very good horse and we hired a very good trainer, maybe the greatest of all time". American Pharoah ended a 37-year drought in 2015. In short, it has all the makings of a great horse movie. What are the Triple Crown races? It's like comparing your kids - which one is faster? He's the first Triple Crown victor to face that many rivals in the 1½-mile Belmont.

"The raw talent is there, " trainer Bob Baffert said.

The Belmont Stakes has already seen a Triple Crown victor within this decade, as American Pharoah sealed the deal in 2015. "I mean, they're a good combination and they got the job done".