From 1978 to 2014, no horses won the Triple Crown.
Now, trainer Bob Baffert has won two in four years.
The Sonoita, Arizona native and University of Arizona alum took home the 2018 Belmont Stakes with his horse Justify, securing Baffert’s second Triple Crown. He also pulled off the feat with American Pharoah in 2015.
Justify was the 4-5 morning line favorite after drawing the inside post position. The mile and a half length of the Belmont seemed problematic for the horse after almost losing at the wire of the much shorter Preakness Stakes three weeks prior, but Justify was not phased by the longer distance, leading wire-to-wire.
He is now the 13th horse to win the three biggest events in American horse racing in the same year. He’s only the second horse to win the Triple Crown while being undefeated in his lifetime.
This was Baffert’s fifth attempt at a Triple Crown with Silver Charm, Real Quiet, and War Emblem winning the first two legs but not able to seal the deal with a Belmont victory.
To further the Arizona connection, Justify beat out a field that included Gronkowski (finished 2nd), named after the former Arizona Wildcats tight end and Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski. Gronk even made the trip to watch the horse that carried his name around the track.
Gronk in the house to see Gronk the horse. pic.twitter.com/XIwu8m5Dtm— Christian Red (@CRedRojo) June 9, 2018
Baffert had a second horse in the race with Restoring Hope, who hung with Justify for much of the race. Fellow Arizona alum Todd Pletcher had horses Noble Indy and Vino Rosso in the field.
Arizona really is #AHorsesProgram