Justify wins Belmont Stakes, becomes 13th Triple Crown champ

Sports
APTOPIX Kentucky Derby Horse Racing_1528586554565

Mike Smith celebrates after riding Justify to victory during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

NEW YORK (AP) — Justify led all the way to win the Belmont Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths and become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown champion and second in four years.

The chestnut colt is the second undefeated colt to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, improving to 6-0 in a racing career that began on Feb. 18. Seattle Slew was unbeaten when he won the Triple Crown in 1977.

Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Justify went to the lead out of the starting gate and led nine rivals around the track’s sweeping turns on Saturday. He’s the first Triple Crown winner to face that many rivals in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.

Bob Baffert became the second trainer to win the Triple Crown twice. He did so with American Pharoah in 2015, ending a 37-year drought.

At 52, Mike Smith is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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