Justify is looking to make history next Saturday at the 150th Belmont Stakes. This horse won the Kentucky Derby in impressive fashion a few weeks ago and followed that up with a narrow victory at the Preakness Stakes two weeks later. Now, he is aiming to become the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown and just the second to accomplish the feat since 1978.
However, Justify will be up against history. Before American Pharoah broke a 37-year drought back in 2015, 13 horses had won the first two legs of the Triple Crown only to come up short at the Belmont Stakes. Trainer Bob Baffert is hoping that Justify can start a new trend by winning at Belmont Park. He was the trainer for American Pharoah too, and if Justify wins he would become only the second trainer ever to have two horses win the Triple Crown.
2018 Belmont Stakes Odds (Courtesy of BetDSI)
Vino Rosso 10-1
Noble Indy 20-1
Blended Citizen 20-1
Restoring Hope 30-1
Free Drop Billy 30-1
Justify has already received some help from his ownership group for this Triple Crown bid. His biggest threat at the Belmont Stakes was Audible, a horse that came in third-place at the Kentucky Derby and had the stamina to give Justify a run for his money. However, the same group that owns Justify also owns Audible, and they made the decision to keep Audible out of the Belmont Stakes. That boosts his chances of winning the Triple Crown and becoming one of the most valuable horses in the world.
Audible won't run in Belmont https://t.co/EjbNawq8jm
— Derby News (@KentuckyDerbyCJ) May 25, 2018
This horse has been exceptionally fast. Justify’s speed ratings have been much better than his competition, with his slowest race coming at the water-logged Preakness Stakes. That was the first time his speed rating was less than 100, but he still bested the field by a half-length. He looked fantastic in a workout on Tuesday too, showing that the Triple Crown grind has not sapped his speed.
Watch undefeated Justify breeze 4 furlongs in :46.80 in preparation for the Belmont Stakes on the Road to the #TripleCrown!
Splits: 12, 23.60 and 35.20. Out 5F :59.60 pic.twitter.com/WpBHERiwsE
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 29, 2018
However, there is a question of whether or not Justify has the stamina to go the required 1.5 miles at the Belmont Stakes. He has been a front-runner in all five of his previous races. The horse looked like he was running out of gas at the end of the Preakness Stakes, and that’s a bit worrisome given the length of this race. Baffert looks like he will enter Restoring Hope into the field to give Justify a rabbit, but challengers like Hofburg and Bravazo may be more comfortable at this distance.
In my article yesterday, I mentioned three other horses that could give Justify a run for his money. Vino Rosso ran well at the Wood Memorial and could challenge at the Belmont Stakes. He has been more of a closer and this distance should suit him. Gronkowski has a chance to pull off the upset too. European turf horses don’t usually fare well in the States, but he has had almost two months to acclimate to dirt. Free Drop Billy might be worth a shot too. If the pace isn’t too fast over the first mile, he has a small chance of pulling off the massive upset.
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