Trainer Bob Baffert watches Triple Crown hopeful Justify workout at Belmont Park, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Elmont, N.Y. Justify will attempt to become the 13th Triple Crown victor when he races in the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race on Saturday.
Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm said Sunday the multi-owner group that controls Justify wants to share the horse with the public by racing him.
Starting out of the No. 1 post, jockey Mike Smith navigated Justify from the rail through a field of nine challengers to give trainer Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown victor in the past four years.
Justify, who did not race as a two-year-old, is now undefeated in six starts.
Justify paid $3.50 to place and $2.80 to show.
Despite a deal for his breeding rights worth a reported $75 million, the connections of Triple Crown victor Justify plan to continue racing him through the end of this year, they said Sunday.
"He's sent from Heaven", Smith said. Justify is also running on the inside post, where no horse has won the Belmont since 1997. Justify gave Baffert his 16th victory as trainer in the Triple Crown series - five Kentucky Derbies, seven Preaknesses and three Belmonts - breaking a tie with D. Wayne Lukas for tops all-time. 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.
He became the first horse in 136 years to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a juvenile, then hung on in a surreal fog to win by a half-length in the Preakness three weeks ago. Baffert, 65, had less than a year to train Justify who suffered a minor injury and didn't race his second year.
The 3-year-old colt is a 4/5 favorite to win, according to Las Vegas odds, after impressive victories leading up to the event. But he (Justify) ran the whole mile and one half today, and he earned it (Triple Crown).
All that remained was to prove that he had the toughness and resolve to conquer the longest, most grueling leg of the Triple Crown.
"Smith said that when he's mounted on his horse, he follows God just as he normally would".
Smith, 52, became the oldest jockey to win a Triple Crown.
Justify (1), with jockey Mike Smith up, crosses the finish line to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Elmont, N.Y.
Baffert will saddle a second horse: 30-1 shot Restoring Hope.
Smith told reporters, "I just want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing us on this afternoon, and blessing us with this awesome horse". If rain falls and turns it sloppy, Justify should feel right at home.
Justify held off a late-charge from Gronkowski, named after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowskim, the the Giants beat in Super Bowl XLVI. Restoring Hope spent much of the race just behind the eventual victor and to his outside, though never passed him.