"Everybody was in tears, including myself".
"I actually thought maybe he's not going to break today". Tanya Gunther was responsible for choosing the chestnut colt's parents.
"We had already had a great run with him and were very proud of what he had achieved".
The strapping chestnut colt, trained by Bob Baffert and rode by Mike Smith, broke well out of the gate and led the one-and-a-half-mile race from wire to wire, pulling away down the homestretch in a finishing time of 2:28.18 amid a deafening crescendo from the crowd of more than 90,000 at Belmont Park, the venerable race course just outside NY city limits. "He's just an imposing horse". "Did you see him in the gate?" Before Justify, it hadn't been done by a horse who didn't run at 2 and made only six starts in such a short time.
Justify joins Seattle Slew as the only two undefeated horses to win the Triple Crown.
"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".
Justify's pedigree features plenty of Canadian content.
Wearing a white blanket advertising his status as the sport's 13th Triple Crown victor, Justify walked laps inside the barn before coming outside to greet a slew of cameras.
The Belmont is known as the "Test of the Champion" for good reason: it's the first and likely last time these 3-year-old colts will be running 1 ½ miles.
He added that Justify has a yearling half-brother that the family is now looking at as a potential contender.
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It has become a major trend in the Belmont that the horses bred for endurance and distance win it.
"That whole Triple Crown thing".
"But you never dream it could produce a result like this". "He's just got this "it" factor".
"We've just got to keep working and working and working and just try to produce more graded stakes winners". From there, he reeled off consecutive Grade I wins in the April 7 Santa Anita Derby, May 5 Kentucky Derby and May 19 Preakness S. Sales History: $500,000 yrl KEESEP '16.
And Gunther might have to look no further than his farm for the next Justify.
"Fifty-two years old. Think about that accomplishment, winning a Triple Crown at 52 years old?"
"It is such a surreal feeling and one that I'm still trying to take in", he said.
Bravazo (8-1), D. Wayne Lukas' horse, ran tough races in the Derby and Preakness (sixth and second), He's shown he has the toughness and moxie to stay with Justify and should be considered by railbirds on all exotics. But Gunther opted to follow his gut with this decision, which came long before Justify's emergence as a champion racehorse. Sometimes the term "legends of the turf" is used too loosely, but it seems nearly an understatement when it comes to the Belmont Stakes.
"I have no earthly idea what Florent was thinking or what his race strategy was", West said, per Tom Pedulla of the New York Post. Here are the odds for every contender in the field the morning of Saturday's race.