And yet horses once could do what Justify has done, if not in the literal sense of winning six races in 111 days at the beginning of a career, ending at the apogee of the sport, then in the spirit of Derby and Preakness victor Carry Back running nine races at 3 before hitting a wall in the Belmont, or of Tim Tam, who raced once at 2 and then 12 times at 3 before going wrong in his attempt to win the Triple Crown.
Triple Crown victor Justify is ready to start the next portion of his career, becoming the most valuable stud horse in the world.
Six of the 10 horses in the Belmont were Keeneland sales graduates.
Rosie Napravnik, in 2013, became the first female jockey to ride in all three Triple Crown races. "He's so gifted. He's sent from heaven".
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Baffert fell short the first three times he brought a horse to Belmont with a chance at the Triple Crown - with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002). He did so with American Pharoah in 2015, ending a 37-year drought. "He could have won every race on the undercard today". "He's just that kind of horse". He stayed in second, 1½ to 2 lengths behind Justify, for a mile before retreating to eighth.
Approaching the quarter pole, with the crowd on its feet and screaming, Gronkowski was hitting his best stride from far back, picking off a half-dozen rivals to gain third even as Vino Rosso was moving into second.
Following the race Geroux admitted that he struggled to keep control of Restroing Hope, while owner Gary West told the New York Post that he didn't like the way Restoring Hope raced and that he didn't understand Geroux's race strategy.
Justify ran the longest race of the series in 2:28.18 and paid $3.60, $3.50 and $2.80.
Justify led all the way in achieving one of the sports world's toughest feats 45 years to the day that Secretariat won the Belmont by a record 31 lengths.
Justify cemented his place in racing history for WinStar Farm, who owns the colt along with Club (whose silks the colt wore on in the Belmont), Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners. "He looked like a bodyguard making sure nobody got close to Justify".