China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners' undefeated Justify, who sold at Keeneland's 2016 September Yearling Sale for $500,000, became Thoroughbred racing's 13 Triple Crown victor when he scored a front-running victory in Saturday's 150 running of the $1.5 million Belmont Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) at Belmont Park.
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. In the photo below, you can see Restoring Hope, in pink, coming up strong on the outside of Justify, in red.
The owners of Triple Crown victor Justify say the horse will race again this year, but didn't say where or when.
"Our focus was on each race as they came up", Walden said after unveiling Justify's Triple Crown banner inside Belmont Park.
"It definitely seemed to me he was more of an offensive lineman than a racehorse trying to win the Belmont, and Justify was a running back trying to run for a touchdown", said Mike Repole, co-owner of Noble Indy and fourth-place Vino Ross.
'If my horse would have broke on top, I would have been on the lead and Justify laying second.
Following the race a number of people questioned the motives of Restoring Hope, who appeared to be blocking for fellow Bob Baffert-trained colt, Justify.
The trainer said he anxious again when Justify made a move forward in the final turn. 'I would have thought Baffert would have wanted Restoring Hope nowhere close to the pace'.
"I have no earthly idea what Florent was thinking or what his race strategy was", he told the Post in an email. "Had I known better, the first eighth of a mile I would have thought it was a quarter-horse race, not the mile-and-a-half Belmont".
"Justify is a super horse. I will never know".
The three-year-old colt, bred by British Columbia's John Gunther, entered the Grade 1, $1.5 million race undefeated, and sped to a convincing 1 ¾-length win over runner up, Gronkowski. He'll walk for at least the next two to three days, as long as he'll allow us to.
Doug Bredar, the agent for Geroux, said he has no comment and Geroux has no comment.
A representative for the New York Gaming Commission told the Daily Racing Form there is no plan to speak to Geroux.
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