Belmont celebrates its 150th running as Justify looks for Triple Crown

08 June, 2018, 13:12 | Author: Alyssa Little
  • Jockey Martin Garcia works Triple Crown hopeful Justify at Churchill Downs in Louisville Ky. Tuesday

Neil Greenberg from the Washington Post offers quick insights into each horse in the Belmont field and what needs to happen for him to win.

If he can, he will become the 13th Triple Crown victor and the second since the Bob Baffert-trained American Pharoah became the first since 1978 three years ago.

"He's just breathing fire out there, " Justify's assistant trainer, Jimmy Barnes, said last Friday, after Justify's daily gallop at Churchill Downs.

Justify will come out of the No. 1 post position in Saturday's Belmont Stakes where the undefeated chestnut colt will try to become only the second victor of US thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown since 1978.

In addition to the post positions, the morning-line odds also were assigned, with Justify made the overwhelming favorite at 4-5. "So we'll just deal with it". "It's a lot of pressure, too".

Lou Lamoriello moved quickly to shake up the New York Islanders by firing coach Doug Weight and general manager Garth Snow and naming himself the team's new GM just two weeks after taking over as president of hockey operations. "The place is going to be rocking". He's never run on dirt, never run in this country and never run more than a mile in a race (Belmont is 1-1/2 miles).

"He got their attention somehow". Baffert said the margin of victory was somewhat misleading. Once Pharaoh did it, I just had this sense of relief. Normally, I'd jump on that offering and load up on Justify to win and maybe use him in some exotic bets as well.

"He's a tough horse", he said. "This guy will let you love on him for about four seconds, and that's it". Baffert had yet to decide exactly what the colt will do over the next two days, although it won't be anything of outcome; his major training has been completed. His Preakness performance lacked the dominance of his prior starts if you consider the short and diminishing margin he beat second-place finisher Bravazo, but only a contrarian racing pundit would find fault in a front-running win over a sloppy track two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby in similar conditions.

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Baffert's 13-year-old son, Bode, already texted his race-day forecast to his father, who read it out loud off his phone. As soon as I saw the muddy track on race day, everything changed; everything except the column I submitted on the previous Wednesday.

"We have it", Baffert said.

Truth be told, Baffert prefers a dry, fast track.

For what it is worth, the National Weather Service is forecasting a 50 percent chance of showers Saturday for Belmont Park.

Good Magic did that in the Preakness and Mike Smith, the jockey of Justify, felt Bravazo and Tenfold closing at the wire.

The D Wayne Lukas-trained Bravazo, who finished a half-length behind Justify at the Preakness, will jump from three.

Belmont Stakes officials are hoping inclement weather doesn't rain on their parade during Saturday's big horse race, featuring fan favorite Justify - the undefeated colt hoping to win the coveted Triple Crown.

"I'd like to see a nice day", Bob Baffert said. "We can not think of a better brand than Wheels Up to partner with a horse like Justify". Justify is good, but he's not good enough to join that club.

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