Justify draws rail for Belmont Stakes Triple Crown tilt

Kristopher Nichols
June 8, 2018

The right horses also help.

As is becoming more common in the sport, Starlight Racing is just one entity involved in the ownership of Justify. American Pharoah ended a 37-year drought when he completed the sweep in 2015. Smarty, who was hassled early by premature moves from horses taken out of their best running styles, deserved to win.

Asmussen said it can be a long, hard journey. Baffert had yet to decide exactly what the colt will do the next two days, although it won't be anything of effect; his major training has been completed. Ortiz won the Belmont a year ago with Tapwrit, while Brown has yet to win it. But when a horse is trying for history, it's one of the biggest on the summer calendar.

Trained by the legendary American racehorse trainer Bob Baffert, who also trained the 2015 Triple Crown victor American Pharoah, Justify began this year with three wins at Santa Anita, including the Santa Anita Derby, before going on to claim victories in the 2018 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

"No, they're not going to say that, they're going to say 'another trainer, '" added Bravazo trainer D. Wayne Lucas. Silver Charm (1997) lost the Belmont by three-quarters of a length, and Real Quiet (1998) lost by a nose.

Tim Lincecum won't be making a major league comeback with the Texas Rangers, who had signed the two-time NL Cy Young victor during spring training with plans for him to be a reliever.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes-winning colt was accompanied on the flight from Kentucky by his Bob Baffert-trained stablemate and Belmont opponent Restoring Hope and a stable pony.

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"He's doing well. Everything's gone really well since the Preakness, so we're really happy with his preparations".

Besides winning the Eclipse Award seven times, Pletcher has established a reputation for strength in numbers when it comes to graded stakes contenders.

Noble Indy was no match for Justify at the Kentucky Derby, finishing a whopping 42 lengths behind in 17 place. "When the horses come to him, he sort of takes off again".

"I never do like the rail", Baffert told reporters at the Belmont draw Tuesday.

"As far as the numbers they train, in Todd's case it's a benefit because he has very competent assistants".

The deals for American Pharoah and this one for justify were brokered by New York-based sponsorship firm Leverage Agency. Justify, unbeaten in five career starts, became the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby (as the favourite) without racing as a 2-year-old and then followed up with a Preakness victory (as an even bigger favourite) that wasn't quite as impressive as it appeared Justify might be tiring at the end.

"To me, it's like, you'll hear football coaches that are specialized in their kicking game or whatever", Baffert said Tuesday at Citi Field, the site of the draw for the 150th Belmont Stakes. His sire, Union Rags, won the 2012 edition of the Belmont Stakes which gives him the bloodline as well as the running style to make him a compelling player. He ran on sloppy tracks both times and the forecast for Saturday calls for a 60 percent chance of rain.

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