Gronkowski (the horse) finishes second at Belmont Stakes

Heather Diaz
June 10, 2018

Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor Justify will be taking to the sprawling oval to try to become racing's 13th Triple Crown victor and second in four years with a victory in the 1 1/2-mile race. So when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, the hoards of joyous horse racing fans shook Belmont Park, right outside New York City, to its core.

Justify broke from the starting gate like a Quarter Horse, Smith said, immediately striding out for the lead.

The drought before that lasted so long - 37 years, in fact - that many began to believe that horse racing's grand sweep would never again be accomplished.

Justify's jockey, Mike Smith, has called Belmont one of his favorite tracks and is confident that he Justify will come out on top.

The Hall of Fame trainer won the $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational with Hoppertunity.

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Justify is now the 13th horse to win the greatest honor of horse-racing, and only the second since 1998. Restoring Hope will have a new jockey Saturday since Smith will be busy riding Justify. His other accomplishments include two Kentucky Derby wins, two Preakness wins and three Belmont wins as well as more than two dozen victories in the Breeders' Cup. But Good Magic got the 2-year-old Eclipse Award. The 4-year-old filly cruised to a 7½-length victory while snapping a three-race skid.

The 150th running of the Belmont Stakes saw the three-year-old beat out stiff competition in Gronkowski and Hofburg. The crowd has been capped at 90,000.

Justify lined up for his maiden start at Santa Anita Park on February 18.

After his first few months in training, Justify had a little time off before he was sent to trainer Rodolphe Brisset's barn at Keeneland, where he would have his first several breezes on the racetrack. He has not run since a seventh placing at the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago.

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