Justify back at Churchill as fans bask in Triple Crown glory

Annette Crawford
June 13, 2018

Barnes, a Santa Rosa native and 1977 graduate of Montgomery High School, had the pleasure of walking Triple Crown victor Justify around the grounds while camera-clicking fans followed their every step, intent on getting a shot or horse racing's newest superstar.

The chestnut colt became the second undefeated horse to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, improving to 6-0 in a racing career that began on February 18.

After the horse won its first two races, he knew Justify was an wonderful raw talent, capable of history. "I'm not. I've had really good luck there".

The chestnut colt burst onto the national scene with a 2½-length victory on a sloppy track in the Derby. Galloping through fractions of 23.37 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 48.11 for the half, 1:13.21 for three quarters and 1:38.09 for the mile, Justify entered the far turn without having been asked for run, still two lengths clear of his stablemate and closest rival, with Bravazo hanging on in third. They've been running rabbits in races for years, and Noble Indy was not a rabbit.

1875 - The Kentucky Derby is established. Racing officials have not yet received confirmation from Baffert, but they remain hopeful that the colt could be paraded in conjunction with the presentation of the Kentucky Derby trophy to his connections.

Mike Smith, 52 years old, was the jockey and took Justify to the lead right at the start.

May 27, 1873 - The first Preakness Stakes is run.

May 20, 2017 - Cloud Computing, ridden by Javier Castellano, wins the 142nd Preakness. "And I am so happy for Mike Smith". The last time there were two Triple Crown champions in the same decade was the 1970s, which produced Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed. He's the first Triple Crown victor to face that many rivals in the 1½-mile Belmont.

More than 15 million viewers were watching NBC's Belmont Stakes broadcast on Saturday as NBC Sports' Larry Collmus called the race, finishing with a flourish.

Owners of the latest Triple Crown victor said Justify will get a well-deserved break and then race again this year, although no date or location has been targeted yet after the colt came out of his Belmont Stakes victory in good condition.

June 10, 2017 - Tapwrit, ridden by Jose Ortiz, wins the 149th Belmont Stakes.

Justify, who cross the finish 1¾ lengths in front of 24-1 longshot and Keeneland sales graduate Gronkowski, is the 20 Belmont victor produced by Keeneland sales. Justify is the first undefeated horse to complete the Triple Crown since 1977.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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