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  • Chris Costello

Justify becomes the 13th Triple Crown Champion

Early last week I saw that rain might again be in the forecast leading up to the Belmont Stakes. I was like great, here we go again. Is Justify going to get the 7th post again, ha. NO. The forecast changed to sun and Justify drew the post position one. Once I arrived in Elmont, NY on a beautiful Saturday morning I knew something a lot of race fans might not have known. I knew they were going to witness racing history. Now, most average race fans saw Justify win on sloppy tracks in Kentucky and Maryland. Last time Justify won on a fast track on a sunny day was the Santa Anita Derby. I told everyone I knew here that Justify was going to love that track and just go for a fun run. That is exactly what he did. Before I go into the race, let me just say, what a race day. Besides the Belmont Stakes, besides the triple crown bid by Justify, this race card on this day has really turned into something spectacular. The talent, the races, the horses. It really has become a one of a kind race card. Back to the Belmont Stakes. As Mike Smith and Justify headed out to the track and towards the gate, I have never seen a duo so calm, and who would've thought, they would look calmer in the gate. Justify might be the best schooled horse I have ever seen in the gate. Justify like his jockey, waited patiently for the start and for those doors to open. Justify broke great and jumped out to the lead. Mike Smith and Justify controlled this whole race. No one really contested them and it was like they were in cruise control the whole time as they were victorious in the 150th Belmont Stakes and Justify became the 13th Triple Crown Champion in the history of horse racing. I don't even want to compare this day to three years ago with American Pharoah. They're both so special in their own ways. This week there was talk about a rabbit, a blocker and discredit to Justify's win. Without getting into the topic too much, I'll just say enough of the negativity around this horse and his team. They all deserve their due. Justify is such a special horse and deserves some respect here after what he has accomplished. In horse racing there have been rabbits and blockers before. At the end of the day, nobody was beating Justify. Only one horse made a run at him and that was Gronkowski. Other teams in this race just have to accept the facts. You lost. Justify is the best 3 year old horse. Justify is the best horse in the country. And, Justify is the Triple Crown Champion. Justify now heads back to Churchill Downs and then I am thinking back to the west coast. He has earned a much needed rest. I cannot wait to see him again late summer. I expect him probably back at the Travers in August at Saratoga then back down to Kentucky at Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup Classic. I just want to thank Justify and his team. The owners, Bob Baffert (trainer), Jimmy Barnes (assistant trainer), and jockey, Mike Smith. There's a lot of negativity and bad stuff going on currently in this world and when something special happens in an industry you work in, you really learn to appreciate it. You take it in and enjoy the moment, rather than break it down and fight against it. Justify, you have been nothing short of spectacular so far this year. I cannot wait to see what else you have in store for us for the rest of it. Enjoy your time off. See you later this summer, CHAMP!!!!

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