Justify's value skyrockets to $60M with Triple Crown win


The prize-winning horse has won six races in 111 days.

A bit of intrigue has surfaced in the wake of Justify's Triple Crown-clinching victory on Saturday, with rival owner Mike Repole questioning jockey Florent Geroux's tactics aboard the other Bob Baffert-trained horse in the Belmont Stakes, Restoring Hope. He stood so quietly in the starting gate that jockey Mike Smith wondered if he'd respond when it sprang open. "There is no one more deserving than him".

"Pharoah made so many people feel good", Baffert said. He stayed in second, 1½ to 2 lengths behind Justify, for a mile before retreating to eighth. But the horses slowed down the back stretch and Baffert liked what he saw on the timer at the half-mile pole. "He's now become a household name and I'm looking forward to his next race as much as you guys are", he said.

'The plan was to sit off Justify, ' the trainer said.

"It baffled me", Repole told the Daily Racing Form on Sunday.

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As was the case with American Pharoah, who ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought, spectators waited as the van carrying Justify turned the corner before stopping in front of Baffert's barn.

"Opinions die", Baffert said. He refused comparisons between the two horses, saying they are different types of racers.

A special water cannon welcome from the Louisville International Airport's Department of Public Safety greeted Justify, and a TV news helicopter followed the Triple Crown victor in his brief journey from the tarmac to trainer Bob Baffert's Barn 33 on the Churchill Downs backside. Americans love dynasties, whether in politics, sports, or musical acts, and the Triple Crown is racing's greatest dynastic concept, an institution that predates every major championship event except the World Series. "He could have won every race on the undercard today". The Triple Crowns of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed, coming as they did after a quarter of a century without, cast the sport in a bright white light that demanded attention.

The victory over Belmont Park's sweeping 1 ½-mile oval was the sixth straight for Justify, who joined Seattle Slew - also a wire-to-wire Belmont victor in 1977 - as the only undefeated winners of the Triple Crown.

Gronkowski, named for the National Football League player, finished second, after having been last for the first half of the race.

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