Justify's Triple Crown is an wonderful accomplishment for Baffert, who also trained American Pharoah - the 2015 Triple Crown victor.
"This horse ran a tremendous race, he's so gifted", said Mike Smith, who at 52 is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.
The New Mexico native won 15 Grade 1 races in 2017, including nine with Bob Baffert, the trainer of Justify and now a two-time Triple Crown victor. Network coverage on NBC Sports begins at 4:00 p.m. ET with undercard races and commentary on NBC Sports Network starting at 2:00 p.m. ET.
"I can't believe I'm here in NY winning it again".
He ran the longest race of the series in 2:28.18 and paid $3.60, $3.50 and $2.80.
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.
Smith said Justify was so calm in the gate that he was anxious he might not break. He won his first three races by a combined 19 lengths, making trainer Bob Baffert a believer.
Justify's victory silenced the skeptics who believed the colt was due for a loss because of his rushed schedule and close result in the Preakness.
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The world was watching on television and the internet and 90,327 fans had packed Belmont Park to cheer for the chestnut colt who had captured the attention of the horse racing world by winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness after not racing as a 2-year-old.
Justify's victory gives racing its second Triple Crown victor of the decade. "And I thought maybe, because I could see Gronkowski flying, but he just couldn't get to that horse".
"I was just surprised on how well he handled the atmosphere at the Derby with the crowd, how he handled it at the Preakness because every time he shows up people start yelling and screaming and he just looks at them like, 'Thank you, '" Baffert said.
"I've wanted to see that horse's name up there because we knew he was brilliant from day one". Smith will be aboard Justify in the colt's bid to become racing's 13th Triple Crown victor.
The first horse to load in the gate, Justify stayed so still and steady as the other nine followed suit that Smith anxious for a moment that he might not break at all.
Their strides and running styles are comparable, Baffert said, adding that they both had similar struggles in their races leading up to the Belmont event.
Among those expected to be on hand is New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. 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. Four of Justify's rivals have been resting since the Kentucky Derby a month ago: Free Drop Billy (16th), Hofburg (seventh), Noble Indy (17th) and Vino Rosso (ninth).