Justify led for the entire race and completed the mile and a half in an unofficial time of 2 minutes 28.18 seconds. He is the second undefeated Triple Crown winner, joiningSeattle Slew in 1977. Justify beat a field of 10. Gronkowski was second, and Hofburg third. Justify rewarded his sun-splashed backers with $3.60 on a $2 bet to win. Gronkowski paid $13.80 to place.
Since Wednesday, when Justify pulled up to Barn 1 at Belmont Park, minus the police escort that Pharoah had received, the trainer Bob Baffert appeared at ease. Gone were the nerves from 2015, when the curse of 37 years and the hopes of many rested on his shoulders.
Baffert nicknamed his crew Camp Justify, and the bucolic corner barn setting fit the bill. Owners, fans and even rival trainers stopped by to sneak a peek at the undefeated winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
Save for a news helicopter circling during training hours, the scene was as mellow as could be — three years between Triple Crown attempts will have such an effect. But it is said that history repeats, and it certainly seemed that way on Saturday. The great Secretariat ended a 25-year drought in 1973 in record fashion, then, four years later, Seattle Slew came