Justify won the 150th Belmont Stakes on Saturday, becoming only the second undefeated Triple Crown champion in history.
Breaking quick out of the gate from the No. 1 post, Justify took the lead as his competitors rounded the first turn. Clocking in with a 2 minute, 28.18 seconds run on the mile-and-a-half track, 52-year-old Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rode the 3-year-old colt to victory as the 13th Triple Crown winner and the first since American Pharoah in 2015.
When the race was over, Smith took a few quiet minutes alone with Justify around one of the turns to let the feat sink in. Shortly thereafter, they took a victory lap around Belmont Park and to the Winner’s Circle to the cheers of the crowd of roughly 100,000.
“This horse ran a tremendous race,” Smith beamed. “He’s so gifted; he was sent from heaven. I can’t even begin to describe my emotions right now.”
Following Justify’s easy win on the mud-soaked track at the 144th Kentucky Derby on May 5, he took first place in the heavy fog at Preakness Stakes on May 19. His win at Belmont was blessed with a bright sunny sky and a dry track.
This win, by the way, was nothing new for trainer Bob Baffert — he also trained American Pharoah.