Wow. I’m so glad I got to watch that live. Justify ran a fabulous race, ridden brilliantly by Mike Smith. After a clean break, Justify followed Smith’s plan — they broke first, then settled into a good rhythm and just kept going. At the end, Smith was fanning his whip, but Justify was still galloping strong and finished almost two lengths ahead of Gronkowski. What an amazing race.
It didn’t hurt that Baffert’s second horse, Restoring Hope did a good job of sitting just behind in second and making sure that any horse looking to challenge Justify for the lead would have to go around him first. I wasn’t sure that Justify could hold the lead all the way around, but that horse certainly proved me wrong. He’s a beast.
Kudos to Gronkowski for his strong finish in second, but there was no way he was going to catch Justify.
For the record books, Justify is only the second undefeated horse to win the Triple Crown; Seattle Slew is the only other to achieve that feat. And he’s the 13th horse ever to win the title.
On a side note, although I did not have a bet on this race, I was lucky enough to have a friend at the Derby this year and she placed my first (and so far only) bet on Justify. I guess I should quite while I’m ahead.