A Triple Crown Sweep at Belmont would be Big for Breeders’ Cup
Triple Crown hopeful Justify took his first gallop at Belmont Park Thursday, cruising 1 3/8 miles with a mass of media members watching and camera’s rolling. Trainer Bob Baffert called his colt’s work “aggressive” and said Justify “just floated over this track and couldn’t have looked any better.”
Horse racing is a sport built on anticipation and promotion, and a horse in the running to become just the 13th Triple Crown champion adds to the excitement. Saturday’s 150th running of the Belmont Stakes looks like Justify’s to lose, and the 4-5 odds as the prohibitive betting favorite will make him a rare-odds on favorite in Belmont’s “Test of the Champion.”
The Belmont Stakes is one of the major horse racing events of the year, and if Justify were to win at Belmont and complete the Triple Crown, it will add so much more to the Breeders’ Cup later this year on Nov. 2-3 at Churchill Downs.
The Belmont Stakes field has 10 runners and the biggest challengers to Justify according to the morning line odds are Hofburg (9-2), Vino Rosso (8-1) and Bravazo (8-1), who all three challenged Justify in the Kentucky Derby and Bravazo just missing as runner-up in the Preakness. Preakness 3rd place finisher Tenfold (12-1) and refreshed Gronkowski (12-1) will get some interest along with Peter Pan winner at Belmont Blended Citizen (15-1).
While there is no certainty in horse racing, and the Belmont Stakes has been heartbreak city for 23 other Triple Crown hopefuls after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Justify has what appears to be the natural speed, tactical ability, stamina and strength to beat all challengers. But before you make a bet or award Justify the Belmont Stakes victory and a place among the Triple Crown legends, know that just 2 of the last 15 favorites have won the Belmont Stakes, and 4 of the last 25 overall.
Justify trainer Bob Baffert captured the 2015 Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown with American Pharoah, who is the only Belmont favorite in the last 12 years to win the race. Justify will also become just the second undefeated Triple Crown winner if he prevails, joining the sensational Seattle Slew (1977).
However you Justify Big Red’s position in this race and potential historic performance, know that these type of major events and platforms add interest to horse racing. So too does the recent Supreme Court decision on sports betting. The 150th running of the Belmont Stakes is a historic one, and when Justify digs down deep to hold off his 9 rivals and numerous closing types trying to rally late, it will become even more significant. And add that much more excitement to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships and Breeders’ Cup Classic.
You can bet on it.