Justify wins Belmont Stakes, captures esteemed Triple Crown

Belmont Stakes live stream: How to watch Justify go for the Triple Crown without a TV

WATCH: Live streaming of Belmont Stakes, Justify's attempt at the Triple Crown

Smith, who ran in the No. 1 post for the first time in his career at Belmont, chuckled at Espinoza's comment, noting that he has to say that about his horse.

"Oh yeah", exclaimed Baffert with that fun-loving grin of his, "the king is back!"

The win immortalized Justify, as he becomes just the 13th horse to win, as well as Baffert who becomes the second trainer to win two, Triple Crowns!

The muscular horse is 1,268 pounds, more than 100 pounds more than American Pharoah, the Baffert-trained horse that won the Triple Crown in 2015, and stands at 16.3 hands high, slightly taller than American Pharoah.

Among those expected to be on hand is New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. "They're just superior horses", he added. "And I thought maybe, because I could see Gronkowski flying, but he just couldn't get to that horse". Troutt admitted, "Yes, I did have butterflies down the stretch".

It happens, on a rough average, about one year in every four, and there were no fewer than 13 disappointments spread out over the course of a famous 37-year drought before American Pharoah completed the set three years ago, to claim the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. There was a Hall-of-Fame trainer and a Hall-of-Fame jockey, side by side, sharing a moment and celebrating only the second horse to win the Triple Crown with an undefeated record. "It has a different feel". As he crossed the finish line, the racecaller exclaimed, "American Pharoah is finally the one!" Justify was anything but typical.

Justify had to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

He ran the longest race of the series in 2:28.18 and paid $3.60, $3.50 and $2.80.

"To do what he did in such a short time is wonderful", Smith said of Justify.

Not only did Justify's owner win the purses from all the races, they will also likely make millions from breeding the title-winning horse once he's through racing as well. At 52, Smith became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

"Unbelievable training job", said Chad Brown, victor of the past two Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer.

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Give Troutt and Walden credit. He's been training at Saratoga since the Kentucky Derby and should be fresh after not running in the Preakness.

The dark bay colt named after the football star was summarily discounted in the June 9 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).

Justify defied all the odds on his way to achieving Triple Crown immortality.

"I've had some really great horses, " he said. "We got him in November, after the Breeders' Cup, and took our time with him, no rush". The California weather is very consistent.

Justify's stunning rise puts him in the pantheon of great horses.

"It was meant to be", Baffert said. He's so in tune with his horses, and he's not going to bring horses up here unless they're right.

Still, as happy-go-lucky as he seemed before the race, Baffert was unusually emotional in his post-race television interview.

"It always helps", he said. "My (late) parents are helping me and friends I've lost".

Among the possibilities: the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 29 at Monmouth Park in Nw Jersey; the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar outside San Diego on August 18; and the $1.25 million Travers at Saratoga in NY on August 25.

When Baffert left the paddock to head for the grandstand, he relayed to Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm, one of Justify's owners, what he had told Smith.

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