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Belmont Stakes 2018 FREE LIVESTREAM
12 June 2018, 08:32 | Anna Jefferson
Justify wins Belmont to become 13th Triple Crown champ
In sweeping the big three races for 3-year-olds, Smith becomes the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. "If they're great, they're going to win the Triple Crown". "Smarty Jones, he had a lot of hostility".
He had every reason to be thrilled that he had won the Triple Crown along with a legendary horse.
The rest of the 10-horse field consists of Gronkowski (+2500, gate 6), Free Drop Billy (+3000, gate 2) and Restoring Hope (+3300, gate 5).
"You can't doubt him now, there's no way, " said Bill Mott, trainer of third-place Hofburg.
So six races, six wins. Second Triple Crown for Baffert. American Pharoah ended a 37-year drought in 2015.
Justify will attempt to join previous Triple Crown winners later this evening when he runs in the 2018 Belmont Stakes.
It was not Secretariat by 31 lengths. But it was unprecedented.
Smith, who kept looking at the replay of his own performance while fielding questions from the media, admitted that he was anxious about how calm Justify stood in the gate. "I can't describe the emotion that's going through my body right now", Smith said as he made for the winner's circle. "He's so gifted. He's sent from heaven, I tell you".
"The gas tank's full, just don't use it all at once", Baffert said. Instead of thanking the horse's owner and the trainer, the very first thing he told NBC while being interviewed on horseback following the race, "First of all, I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ".
The fractions were moderate, the final time for the mile-and-a-half, 2:28.18. The colt is now undefeated, having taken the roses at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but he drew a tough post spot and will be forced to run right next to the rail, which could make his job even harder.
"The great ones, they just find another gear", Baffert said.
Justify crosses the finish line and wins the Triple Crown at the 150th Belmont Stakes, in Elmont, N.Y., on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
Some clues might come from how trainerBob Baffert handled American Pharoah, who got a bit of a break after winning the Triple Crown in 2015 and returned to the track on August 2 to win the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. So was Smith, who actually took a nap - something he never would've done as a younger jockey.
An impressive feat for Baffert, racing's affable, most marketable two-legged star, for sure.
"Bob has helped me achieve so many of my goals, but today, man, he made my dream come true", an emotional Smith said.
The morning after the Belmont Stakes questions quickly turned to what's next for the newest Triple Crown victor. Baffert, 65, gets another.
"I thought my horse ran his race". Justify might not need to run his absolute best if his rivals struggle to cope with the longer trip. "Oh, Mike. Don't empty that tank", Baffert said. In that case, the last Triple Crown victor came when Jimmy Carter was in the second year of his Presidency, the Shah of Iran was still in power, and the Soviet Union still existed and had not yet launched what would become a disastrous war in Afghanistan, and Grease had not yet been released in theaters.
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The former goalkeeper made a sole league appearance for Madrid as a player and later turned out for rivals Barcelona. Real, meanwhile, won their third straight Champions League crown by beating Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev last month.