UNITED STATES—Justify, an American Thoroughbred racehorse, plowed past the rest of the racing line up to finish first place in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9. Over 90,000 spectators were at attendance at the event, where Justify and his rider, Mike Smith, took an early lead in the race. They maintained that lead until the race concluded. Justify finished with a hearty lead of a length and three quarters.
“This horse ran a tremendous race,” Smith said after the race. “He’s so gifted; he was sent from heaven. I can’t even begin to describe my emotions right now,” the champion rider added.
Justify was not only a winner at the Belmont Stakes, but also at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. His third win thrust him into the elite winner’s circle of the Triple Crown—an honor given to the few horses that manage to clench all three wins. Justify is the 13th winner of the Triple Crown.
Previously, American Pharoah, shattered a dry spell in the Triple Crown arena that lasted for 37 years when he won the award in 2015. His trainer, Bob Baffert, is also the trainer for Justify. That makes Baffert one of just two trainers in the history of the sport to clench two Triple Crown titles.
“American Pharoah, he’ll always be my first love,” Baffert stated. “But, man, for this horse to do it.”