Triple Crown victor Justify is a horse with a Canadian connection

Triple Crown victor Justify is a horse with a Canadian connection

There's good reason for that - the King made a surprise appearance behind Baffert in 2015 when his racehorse American Pharoah became the first to win the Triple Crown in 37 years.

Justify is only the second horse since 1978 to earn the Triple Crown, widely considered the greatest accomplishment in thoroughbred racing, which comes from winning three high-profile USA races: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

Sunday Silence was voted American Horse of the Year in 1989 despite losing to rival Easy Goer at Belmont.

Smith has managed to outlast the majority of his competitors, and remains one of the top jockeys despite being much older than most of the other jockeys. "These horses just - you buy them or whatever, a horse like this just kind of happens".

"I could stop right now and I wouldn't complain one bit", Smith told me recently.

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As a general rule, jockeys get 10% of the prize money for races in which their horses win or place. Velazquez finished fourth Saturday on Vino Rosso, but he couldn't help but feel good for his friend.

In the screengrab below, you can see just how far back Gronk the horse was as the horses went through the first quarter mile. Horse racing's defiant ones proved they were hostage to no timetable but their own. Gallant Fox, Omaha and War Admiral accomplished the feat in the 1930s. He is the all-time leader in Breeders' Cup wins with 26. "I think he's the greatest of all time".

"I'm feeling pretty in awe of the horse", Baffert said.

"I was just watching the clock". After a handful of agonizing Triple Crown misses, he broke through with Pharoah, solidifying his legacy.

"One of the things that I thought was important that we were behind the eight-ball", said Walden.

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Gronkowski took second place and Hofburg placed in third. I knew this horse was doing well.

Justify's stunning rise puts him in the pantheon of great horses. Justify won in 2:28.18, well off the record time of 2:24, run by Secretariat in 1973. But the Wood Memorial victor ended up with a fourth-place finish.

Mike Smith, the jockey riding Justify in Saturday night's Belmont Stakes, could have said anything in his first television interview. There has been no such commitment from the owners of Justify.

"He's sent from heaven", an emotional Smith said as he gazed up to those heavens, so humbled and so blessed and giving thanks to his Lord and Savior as he soaked up the love from the NY racing crowd he has forever embraced.

Justify, bred by John Gunther in Kentucky, emerged from the fog at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course to hold off Bravazo by half a length in the Preakness. Once the horses come out of the final turn, they've still got a 1,097-yard (1,003 meters) run through the stretch, exhausting for a horse with little or no gas left in the tank.

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