Triple Crown victor Justify partially owned by company connected to George Soros

Annette Crawford
June 12, 2018

Bob Baffert and Mike Smith have teamed up to win a big race at Belmont Park. Many owners and trainers hold back their horses from the Preakness.

For the second time during this year's Triple Crown series, Brown came out second-best to Justify after Gronkowski's late rally fell 1 3/4 lengths short of the favorite in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

"It's been the longest, quickest journey", Baffert said Sunday.

Justify established his dominance right from the start this year by winning his first three races by a combined 19 lengths.

Gunther says while he and others behind the horse could barely contain their nerves as the Belmont began, the horse, true to character, stayed serene.

At the age of 52, Smith, a devout Christian, is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. "I was going to bring four (horses) but I didn't want to buck those odds of, like past year". I said, what did you tell Mike. Vino Rosso's jockey, John Velazquez, said to the Daily Racing Form.

"To make history like this is just an incredible feeling", said WinStar CEO Elliott Walden, who in his previous life as a trainer spoiled Baffert's attempt at a Triple Crown in 1998 when Victory Gallop beat Real Quiet. But the horses slowed down the back stretch and Baffert liked what he saw on the timer at the half-mile pole. When Sir Batton "won" the Triple Crown in 1919, the term was not even used yet. "It was going to be my friend or the enemy", Baffert said when asked about what other horses he was concerned about as the race developed.

Jockey Jose Ortiz rode the rail through the final turn of the 1 1/2-mile test, angled out, and loomed behind Justify, ready to break plenty of hearts. "Oh, Mike. Don't empty that tank", Baffert said.

Baffert never wants to discuss his own legacy, but Justify's victory stamped him as perhaps the greatest trainer in the history of his sport.

Justify is the second Triple Crown victor in the last four years, joining American Pharoah, who accomplished the feat in 2015.

"But they're two different types".

No one was saying that Justify, the overwhelming favorite Saturday, would not have won the race without the help of his stablemate or didn't deserve to be a Triple Crown victor. And when they questioned Justify's grueling workload - five races in a three-month span, with the Belmont his sixth in less than four months - Baffert said his horse was tough enough to handle it.

The historic win makes Justify the 13th Triple Crown champion and the first to claim the title since American Pharoah did it in 2015.

Justify will be trying to become thoroughbred racing's 13th Triple Crown victor.

Gronkowski, named for the National Football League player, finished second.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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