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Triple Crown victor Justify returns to Churchill Downs for a victory lap

14 June 2018
Triple Crown victor Justify returns to Churchill Downs for a victory lap

The owners of Triple Crown victor Justify say the horse will race again this year, but didn't say where or when. That's his job, to protect the other horse, and it worked for them.

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.

Jimmy Barnes, the assistant trainer in Bob Baffert's racing opeation, was in the spotlight Monday at Churchill Downs, but purely for the company he was keeping.

Like he did in both his Kentucky (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) wins, Justify found his way to the front soon after the start of the Belmont and never looked back, turning away any challenge to take the "Test of the Champion" by almost two lengths.

Baffert, who also trained 2015 Triple Crown victor American Pharoah, defended the strategy of having Restoring Hope keep the pace. He also took the lead as the victor of the most Triple Crown races.

"He's even more magnificent than I thought he'd be".

Baffert's tied Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons as the only trainer to saddle two Triple Crown winners.

After the horse won its first two races, he knew Justify was an unbelievable raw talent, capable of history.

More than 15 million viewers were watching NBC's Belmont Stakes broadcast on Saturday as NBC Sports' Larry Collmus called the race, finishing with a flourish.

"It's been the longest, quickest journey", a hoarse-sounding Baffert said as light rain fell outside Justify's barn.

Here's a look at horse racing's Triple Crown.

"This horse ran a tremendous race", said Smith, who at 52 is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

"It baffled me", Mike Repole, Vino Rosso's co-owner, told Daily Racing Form.

Because he raced at 2, though, Seattle Slew is recalled as a relatively slow burn across the racing sky, while Justify has been a red-hot comet. He's the first Triple Crown victor to face that many rivals in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.

Steve Lewandowski, the New York Gaming Commission steward, said Sunday that there is no plan to talk to Geroux.

Which is why there should be no surprise that the opening quarter-mile of the 150th Belmont Stakes last Saturday has become grist for post-race agita. "He's become a household name and I'm looking forward to his next race as much as [everyone else]".