American Pharoah ended a 37-year drought of Triple Crown winners in 2015.
At 52, Smith is the oldest jockey to ever win the Triple Crown. The Belmont Stakes has been carded as the 11 on the day with a post time of 6:46 p.m. ET. A crowd capped at 90,000 is expected for a chance to witness history.
Justify ran the longest race of the series in 2:28.18 and paid $3.60, $3.50 and $2.80. Now we look at (Gronkowski) as a real quality horse for the future.
"I knew on the first turn that it wasn't good because the way the horse was running, he was not relaxed and we still had a mile and a half to go nearly", jockey Stewart Elliott recalled recently.
The forecast calls for a high of 80 degrees and cloudy skies.
Justify's breeding rights have been reportedly sold for $85 million. "Even though the fractions were soft for a horse of his caliber, still he had to go a mile and a half".
Justify ridden Mike Smith leads the field at the end of the back straight at Belmont Park. Pic AP
With his front-running win, Justify became thoroughbred racing's 13th Triple Crown victor. He'll have nine horses to contend with.
Before Justify won, 24/7 Wall St. has reviewed the 12 horses that have won the Triple Crown, according to Kentucky Derby's comprehensive list. This horse, who is jockeyed by two-time Stakes victor John Velasquez, skipped the Preakness to be fresh for the Belmont.
Mike Smith, the jockey riding Justify in Saturday night's Belmont Stakes, could have said anything in his first television interview. The most rested entry is Gronkowski, having last run on March 30 in England.
Among the possibilities: the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 29 at Monmouth Park in Nw Jersey; the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar outside San Diego on August 18; and the $1.25 million Travers at Saratoga in NY on August 25. He gave all credit to Justify, saying all he had done was "let a good horse be a good horse".
This year a field of 10 will race the entire circumference of Belmont with their hopeful connections looking to add their names to the annals of history, one very special one in pursuit of the most distinguished honor in American racing.
Restoring Hope, also trained by Baffert, ran interference for the champion while traveling second and deterring any threats by forcing them to go extremely wide. He finished 12th that day in the Pat Day Mile on the undercard at Churchill Downs. But Smith confessed that Espinoza's Triple Crown journey three years ago actually helped him Saturday. Coming under a full drive before he even straightened for home, Hofburg had to grind every step of the way just to outlast a weakening Vino Rosso for third by a neck. A leading 23 Belmont winners have come out of there, including Secretariat.
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