Justify completes Triple Crown with Belmont triumph

Ahmed Zayat hoists the Belmont Stakes trophy after American Pharoah's 2015 Triple Crown win

Ahmed Zayat hoists the Belmont Stakes trophy after American Pharoah's 2015 Triple Crown win Skip Dickstein

What makes Justify's accomplishment more remarkable is that the horse became so valuable in 111 days from his first race on February 18 to Saturday, when he became the 13th victor of the Triple Crown. He won the Kentucky Derby by 2½ lengths and then survived a half-length victory in the Preakness, both on sloppy tracks.

This time out Justify will face 9 other horses trying to keep him from sweeping the Triple Crown.

It's not hard for me to imagine Justify losing his dominant cruising speed for the final lengths of the race and getting caught at the wire.

Here's what we know about how much money the Belmont Stakes winners get - and how much Justify and his owners take home with the Triple Crown. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who made his career on the NY racing circuit, piloted a flawless race to give trainer Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown. He won with American Pharoah in 2015, ending a 37-year drought.

As gassed as Justify looked at the wire in the Preakness, jockey Mike Smith is convinced the undefeated colt could have run longer and picked up the pace if asked.

For the first time in this Triple Crown series, race day dawned sunny and dry.

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

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Baffert admitted that the sweet-natured American Pharoah will "always be my first love" but said Justify richly deserved his star's status.

Trainer Todd Pletcher also has two horses in the field - 8-1 Vino Rosso and 30-1 Noble Indy.

With the human Rob Gronkowski in attendance, the horse Gronkowski put together the most unexpected performance of the race. The two horses share the same trainer in Bob Baffert.

It was the first of five mounts Smith had on the 13-race card. He didn't compete as a 2-year-old.

Hofburg (+450) is a deserving second favorite on the Belmont Stakes betting lines but is running from gate 4 and that could limit his chance to break from the outside.

Justify, unraced as a two-year-old, signalled his greatness with a Kentucky Derby victory on a rain-soaked Churchill Downs track in May.

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