Central Pa. law firm representing Triple Crown-winning horse

Belmont Stakes 2018: The 6 horses that are the best bets to upset Justify

Belmont Stakes 2018: The 6 horses that are the best bets to upset Justify

Given the fatigue of hard races two weeks apart, they could see Justify as beatable at the Belmont.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith celebrates after Justify's Belmont Stakes victory on Saturday. He led wire to wire.

For Justify, being one of the finest athletes of our time will have to do.

The 37-year wait for the Triple Crown of horse racing, mercifully ended three years ago when awesome American Pharoah crossed the finish line first at the 2015 Belmont Stakes, was at the same time exasperating, demoralizing, and borderline comical.

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Smith finally had experienced the once-in-a-lifetime feeling Espinoza carries forever with him from the day he made history. 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. It was a different vibe than 2015, when he admittedly felt pressure to win with American Pharoah.

Baffert, 65, became the second trainer to win two Triple Crowns, joining the late James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, whose triumphs came in 1930 and '35 with Gallant Fox and Omaha, respectively.

A crowd capped at 90,000 spectators roared its approval as the imposing chestnut colt prevailed for the sixth time in less than four months in a whirlwind campaign that allowed him to join Seattle Slew as the only undefeated Triple Crown winners. Saturday's race will be run 45 years to the day that Secretariat ended a 25-year Triple Crown drought.

As soon as Smith lowered his hands, Justify was in a race all his own.

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He led from the start and was chased home by Gronkowski, formerly trained in Britain by Jeremy Noseda, with Hofburg in third.

The first horse to load in the gate, Justify stayed so still and steady as the other nine followed suit that Smith anxious for a moment that he might not break at all. "He's sent from heaven". Instead of thanking the horse's owner and the trainer, the very first thing he told NBC while being interviewed on horseback following the race, "First of all, I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ". People never thought it was gonna happen, and look, I come here and I nail it, right? The horse helped. Asked if he'd rank Justify as the greatest thoroughbred, Smith laughed. Restoring Hope, who like Justify is trained by Baffert, last ran May 5 but not in the Derby.

Smith got the big colt into a relaxed rhythm under a moderate pace heading into the backstretch, and he had an easy trip from there.

Jockey Jose Ortiz rode the rail through the final turn of the 1 1/2-mile test, angled out, and loomed behind Justify, ready to break plenty of hearts.

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But Gronkowski went off at 24-1 and broke dead last. It shows a horse eating the flowers off a women's hat and the jockey reimbursing her in the winner's circle with Quick Pay.

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