Belmont Stakes: Can Justify win horse racing’s fabled Triple Crown?

Gronkowski ready root for ‘beast of a horse’ in Belmont 2018

He'll be the heavy favorite on Saturday and if he continues to run as he has in his five-race career he will win.

He'll be ridden by Ricardo Santana, and he'll break from the No. 7 hole.

Justify was dominant at the Derby and Preakness, but he's not fast enough to sustain that dominance at Belmont.

Hofburg, the early 9-2 second choice, galloped on Wednesday and visited the paddock where he will be saddled on race day. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the colt finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness.

Long shot outsider Free Drop Billy (30-1) was in gate two, with the risky 8-1 contender Bravazo in three. Pletcher will send out closer Vino Rosso, victor of the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, and speedy Noble Indy, who took the Louisiana Derby.

44 years later, Bob Baffert is on the precipice of a second Triple Crown in three years.

Three years after American Pharoah ended a 37-year Triple Crown dry spell, Baffert is hoping to do it again with Justify.

Despite riding 1,200-pound animals at 35 miles per hour, Smith has been relatively injury free throughout his career, although he had a frightening spill in 1998 at Saratoga, where he broke his back and spent months in a body cast.

A legendary prognosticator and current CBS Sports expert, Goldberg couldn't have been more dead-on about the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

Justify fights off a game challenge to win the Preakness by a half-length in a thick fog.

Bode Baffert has made meteorology a hobby since the Pharoah days of 2015, and he has had an uncanny knack for being right more often than the National Weather Service when it really counts.

There is an "after the lord mayor's show" feeling about the racing menu in the United Kingdom next Saturday, with Royal Ascot less than two weeks away, but there are two Group 3s at Haydock, and I like CRIBBS CAUSEWAY in the Pinnacle Stakes and DUTCH CONNEC- TION in the John O'Gaunt Stakes.

Jockey Mike Smith will need to use Justify's speed to get him away from the starting gate before the rest of the field comes over on him along the rail.

"American Pharoah brought a lot of excitement to the sport", he said. "He is on the inside, so he can sort of dictate what's going to go, what's happening".

Shurmur, who was hired in January, also recently threw out a first pitch at Citi Field before a Mets game as he comes into focus in the NY spotlight. His throw from in front of the mound was high to infielder Luis Guillorme, who rose up to catch it. There will also be some new horses in the crowd, including Gronkowski and Blended Citizen, both of whom will be running the Belmont on fresh legs - a substantial advantage for the longest race of the Triple Crown.

"He's doing well. Everything's gone really well since the Preakness, so we're really happy with his preparations".

Baffert has another horse in the race: Restoring Hope, the third-place finisher in the Wood Memorial. "We'll try him out one more time". A second in the Florida Derby this year was his best career start. A Triple Crown victor will not happen in 2018.

The Giants are going to be omnipresent at the Belmont Stakes.

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