At 6-0, he's the second undefeated Triple Crown victor; he's the first to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont without racing at age 2; and he's the only horse to beat nine rivals in the Belmont with a Triple try on the line.
According to NY state gaming commission regulations: 'If any horses trained by the same trainer race uncoupled in any race, and one or more of them shall be disqualified for violation of the rules of racing, any other horses entered by that same trainer shall also be disqualified if in the judgment of the stewards such violation prevented any other horse or horses from finishing ahead of the other part of the entry.
In addition to the three Triple Crown races, Justify's resume includes his maiden win, an optional claiming victory, and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, all with a combined winning margin of 23 ¾ lengths. "We'll take a deep breath and see where we are", said Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar. He stood so quietly in the starting gate that jockey Mike Smith wondered if he'd respond when it sprang open. "There is no one more deserving than him".
"Pharoah made so many people feel good", Baffert said. He stayed in second, 1½ to 2 lengths behind Justify, for a mile before retreating to eighth. I tell you, it's just wonderful.
Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes walked Justify before clicking cameras outside of Barn 33 and said the horse traveled well. "That's his job, to protect the other horse, and it worked for them", Velazquez said. 'I would have thought Baffert would have wanted Restoring Hope nowhere close to the pace'.
Justify's breeding rights far outpaced those of American Pharoah, who became the first horse since 1978 to win the Trible Crown back in 2015. After not racing as a two-year-old, he now has an undefeated record and is a Triple Crown champion - his jump from grand potential to richest horse in racing happened all within the past six months.
"Opinions die", Baffert said. They've been running rabbits in races for years, and Noble Indy was not a rabbit. So why would Notre Dame root for Justify and a Triple Crown? Seattle Slew was unbeaten when he won the Triple Crown in 1977.
Gronkowski, named for the National Football League player, finished second, after having been last for the first half of the race.