Justify arrives for Belmont Stakes, walks shed row

Justify could become U.S. racing's 13th Triple Crown winner on Saturday

Justify could become U.S. racing's 13th Triple Crown winner on Saturday

Justify is the latest among the 22 Kentucky Derby (G1) winners and 24 Preakness (G1) winners produced by Keeneland sales.

The Belmont Stakes has always been a graveyard for Triple Crown hopefuls. After walking around the barn for a half-hour or so, the rangy chestnut colt was given a sponge bath and bedded down in the same stall as 2015 Triple Crown victor American Pharoah, also trained by Baffert.

For Baffert, victory for Justify would see him become the second trainer ever to have two Triple Crown horses to his name.

To do so, Justify will have to defeat nine horses.

Noble Indy (Take Charge Indy-Noble Maz) - WinStar Farm bred Noble Indy, victor of the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2), and races him with Repole Stable. Is Justify that good? According to it, Justify had the worst race of his career at the Preakness.

There's more to Hofburg's hereditary than Tapit. American Pharaoh won the Belmont in 2015 by 5.5 lengths.

Bettors are looking at the Belmont Stakes as a way to make some money because Justify is the 4-5 favorite. The Bob Baffert-trained Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor will be ridden once again by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who has been aboard Justify for four of the horse's five career victories.

Free Drop Billy (Union Rags-Trensa) - Bred by Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust, Free Drop Billy was consigned by Gainesway, agent, to the September Sale and sold for $200,000 to Kempton/Berkelhammer, agents for owner Albaugh Family Stables. The Kentucky Derby's 17th-place finisher is at 9-1.

Only 12 thoroughbreds have achieved the feat in the past century, but Justify's rivals are already conceding it will take a minor miracle to stop him winning the most coveted prize in horse racing. "The Belmont Stakes and New York Giants are part of the enduring fabric of the New York and national sports scene: Big Blue as one of the original NFL teams and the Belmont Stakes as the oldest sporting event in the country". Vino Rosso (8/1) 9. Vino Rosso finished ninth in the Derby and didn't run in the Preakness. Both colts won their prep races prior to the Derby but neither threatened the victor. They were expected to arrive at Belmont Park in early afternoon. Of the two, Vino Rosso is a better bet. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the colt finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness. The Preakness will take place at Pimlico in 2019, but Stronach Group COO Tim Ritvo would prefer the race to move to Laurel Park at some point in the future.

"He started this journey just a few months ago".

"I think he'll run big", Smith said.

Besides winning the Eclipse Award seven times, Pletcher has established a reputation for strength in numbers when it comes to graded stakes contenders. He was 16th at the Kentucky Derby. Regularly ranked among the top 10 North American breeders, WinStar has been in the top five every year since 2012 and won an Eclipse Award in 2016 as North America's most outstanding breeder.

Gronkowski is a 12-1 long shot, no doubt attractive odds for his part-owner Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots tight end. Bravazo fared a little better, but not much, with the No. 3 spot.

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