Justify's emergence as the only undefeated Triple Crown champion after Seattle Slew and the 13th horse overall to complete the rare sweep went from a feel-good story to one awash in controversy on Sunday.
Restoring Hope, the other horse trained by Bob Baffert, broke out of the gate a few paces behind the leaders but quickly made a move through the middle of the pack as Justify stayed in front. Triple Crown victor Justify has returned to Churchill Downs to rest as the track where the quest began prepares to celebrate the milestone.
Gronkowski, named for the National Football League player, finished second, after having been last for the first half of the race.
From the first turn through the back stretch, Restoring Hope hung right off Justify, pinning Bravazo to the rail, whose late charge in the shorter Preakness Stakes almost overtook Justify in that race.
As much as today's trainers and jockeys seem to enjoy the spotlight, enhancing their brands, they still operate primarily behind the scenes, and more is left unsaid in lieu of quiet understandings and business relationships. "He looked like a bodyguard making sure nobody got close to Justify". But now what? Has another "savior" of horse racing come and gone?
"There's been tremendous buzz", track spokesman Darren Rogers said.
'Had I known better, the first eighth of a mile I would have thought it was a quarter-horse race, not the mile-and-a-half Belmont.
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"I didn't want to break, get the horse covered up and then the horse starts getting aggressive behind horses".
Gary West, who owns Restoring Hope, also spoke out in fury about how his horse was handled in the race. "I would expect that probably in the next few days the NY stewards should at least ask him what he was thinking and what happened". Maybe the horse was completely out of control and Florent had no choice.
The victor of the race is given a blanket made of between 300-400 white carnations, the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. "I will never know".
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.
"He has natural speed", Baffert said. "If he had a 5-percent chance to win, he had to be up near the lead".
Despite the allegations, New York Gaming Commission steward Steve Lewandowski told the Daily Racing Form that they don't plan to speak to Geroux about the race.
I played two sets at the same level as Dominic Thiem. "He's a big favorite against everybody", he told reporters. Converting break points has become close to impossible against Nadal on the red clay of Paris . "Barely walking.
Charlotte donned sunglasses and ran in bare feet, at one point attempting a head stand in front of her laughing mom. Kate could be seen pulling out toy guns, a walkie talkie and more treats for the duo to play with.
He entered the ring, dominated and walked away with a victory and a championship belt wrapped around his waist. Horn already has 2cm in height on Crawford and is expecting to be around 70kg by the time the bout begins.
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