Owners say Triple Crown winner Justify will race again

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"First and foremost, I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessings on this wonderful day", he said during a nationally televised interview after riding Justify to a win at the Belmont Stakes, which followed his victories in the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness Stakes.

Bob Baffert (center) trained both Justify and Restoring Hope.

Triple Crown victor Justify returned to Churchill Downs for a little rest Monday, arriving just before a thunderstorm and greeted by camera-clicking fans intent on getting a shot of horse racing's newest superstar.

"Justify was on his game that day, so I don't think - on that day - anyone was going to beat him".

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.

Justify, who cross the finish 1¾ lengths in front of 24-1 longshot and Keeneland sales graduate Gronkowski, is the 20 Belmont victor produced by Keeneland sales.

When a reporter asked Baffert after the race if Restoring Hope served as a "wing man" for Justify, Baffert replied: "He has natural speed".

"It was meant to be", Baffert said. "He looked like a bodyguard making sure nobody got close to Justify". "This horse overcame a lot. That's his job, to protect the other horse, and it worked for them", Velazquez 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". Everyone got a fair shot at me.

"I have no earthly idea what Florent was thinking or what his race strategy was", he told the Post in an email. Justify is the first undefeated horse to complete the Triple Crown since 1977.

More than 15 million viewers were watching NBC's Belmont Stakes broadcast on Saturday as NBC Sports' Larry Collmus called the race, finishing with a flourish. "I will never know".

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled American Pharoah to end a 37-year-old Triple Crown drought in 2015, thus became the second trainer along with "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons to train two Triple Crown winners, with Fitzsimmons having conditioned Gallant Fox (1930) and his son, Omaha (1935).

"Opinions die", Baffert said. "His only chance was 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.

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