Gronkowski Unlikely Runner-Up in Belmont Stakes

Justify #1 right ridden by jockey Mike Smith leads the field around the 4th turn during the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont New York

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

The strapping chestnut colt, trained by Bob Baffert and rode by Mike Smith, broke well out of the gate and led the one-and-a-half-mile race from wire to wire, pulling away down the homestretch in a finishing time of 2:28.18 amid a deafening crescendo from the crowd of more than 90,000 at Belmont Park, the venerable race course just outside NY city limits.

"Congratulations to Justify on becoming Thoroughbred racing's 13th Triple Crown victor and further congratulations to his ownership connections, trainer Bob Baffert, and jockey Mike Smith for their superb management and handling of this extraordinary athlete", stated Alex Waldrop, National Thoroughbred Racing Association President and CEO, in a press release.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rode the thoroughbred to victory, defeating nine other competitors as they crossed the finish line in the 1 1/2-mile race.

Justify didn't start racing until turning 3 years old, becoming the first horse in over a century to win the Kentucky that didn't race as a 2-year-old.

Newgate Farm boss Henry Field can't wait for unbeaten Triple Crown victor Justify to stand as a stallion in Australia after watching the colt he helped buy win the Belmont Stakes on Sunday. "I mean, he left like he was going 440 yards in Ruidoso, New Mexico!"

Justify paid $3.50 to place and $2.80 to show.

In doing so, he emulated Baffert's American Pharoah, who in 2015 was the first to land all three races since Affirmed in 1978. He stood so quietly in the starting gate that jockey Mike Smith wondered if he'd respond when it sprang open. Breaking from the less-than-desired No. 1 post, Smith gunned Justify to the lead and never looked back.

He won his first three races by a combined 19 lengths and made his trainer Bob Baffert a believer.

Nadal beats Thiem for 11th French Open title
Djokovic's participation is also in doubt after he was knocked out of the French Open by unseeded Marco Cecchinato. The 26-year-old will hope she can follow in Murray's footsteps by winning more Grand Slams, starting at Wimbledon.

The big chestnut colt with the appetite to match burst onto the national scene with a 2½-length victory on a sloppy track in the Derby. But of all the things the Belmont Stakes is known for it's probably the sheer amount of fantastic horses who've won the 1 ½-mile race since it was first contested in 1867.

Justify achieved one of the sports' toughest feats 45 years to the day that Secretariat won the Belmont by a record 31 lengths.

Meanwhile, if Restoring Hope really was there only to help complete the Triple Crown, it was news to his owner.

All that remained was to prove that he had the toughness and resolve to conquer the longest, most grueling leg of the Triple Crown. "This horse, I'm sure there was millions of people screaming at their TV wanting to see it done".

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

Trainer Todd Pletcher also has two horses in the field - 8-1 Vino Rosso and 30-1 Noble Indy.

Justify held off a late-charge from Gronkowski, named after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowskim, the the Giants beat in Super Bowl XLVI. Three races over the course of five weeks, all at different locations and ranging from 1 3/16 to 1 1/2 miles, take a toll on even the most experienced horses.

Latest News