Justify to run from rail in Triple Crown bid after drawing No1 post for Belmont
08 June, 2018, 03:02
The distances for the Preakness and Belmont were different from today's.
Though his stablemate Audible, who was widely considered the top candidate to spoil a Triple Crown, has been withdrawn the race, Justify will still have to contend with Bravazo, the runner-up at Preakness and the current Sham to Justify'sSecretariat. He just keeps bringing it every race.
Shurmur, who was named head coach of the New YorkGiants in January, will appear in the paddock prior to the start of the Belmont Stakes to announce "Riders Up", signaling the time for jockeys to receive a leg up on their mounts as they prepare to parade out onto the track.
Well before unbeaten Triple Crown hopeful Justify (Scat Daddy)'s highly anticipated early afternoon arrival from Kentucky-more on that in a bit-there were plenty of GI Belmont Stakes runners out stretching their legs for routine gallops during early training hours on a lovely Wednesday morning on Long Island.
Keen Ice was 17-1 in 2015 when he finished third behind American Pharoah, whose victory ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought.
Two years after trainer Bob Baffert guided American Pharoah to the first Triple Crown since 1978, he enters the Belmont Stakes on Saturday in NY with another chance to complete the sweep.
Since Slew, only Smarty Jones (2004) and Big Brown (2008) had a chance to win the Triple Crown while ideal.
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"He is so talented, I think he can dictate the race", Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said of Justify. The massive colt has not lost any weight (still 1,270 pounds). Neither Romans nor Albarado has won this race.
"I just feel like most importantly the horse is doing well".
Justify is co-owned by WinStar Farm, the China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partner and Starlight Racing.
Should Justify pull off the historic bid in the one-and-a-half-mile Belmont, the third and most hard of the Triple Crown legs staged at the venerable race course just outside NY city limits, the colt will set a record for number of rivals defeated with the storied feat on the line. Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons trained Triple Crown winners Gallant Fox and Omaha in 1930 and 1935.
"But the thing that has me a bit anxious is the last horse to win the Belmont drawing the rail was Empire Maker in 2003 - in a six-horse field".
The excitement level, said Baffert, will be the same as it was for American Pharoah. The Triple Crown double on top of everything else that Baffert has already accomplished would further solidify his name among the legendary trainers of thoroughbred horses.
He nearly saw it twice before he finally saw it. Since he recovered from the Preakness, he has not looked worn out from the Triple Crown campaign. By the way, Baffert also trained Silver Charm.
"Let's see if he can do it", Baffert said of Justify.
Baffert could have been describing his younger self and his 2018 self. It was his first win over a dirt surface in a ten race career run primarily over turf. Then, he cooled off.
The Belmont Stakes has always been a graveyard for Triple Crown hopefuls.
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