Justify Arrives 'Safe And Sound' At Belmont, To Whinnies From Stablemates

Justify could become U.S. racing's 13th Triple Crown winner on Saturday

Last year, he correctly picked Tapwrit, a 5-1 underdog, to upset Irish War Cry, the 5-2 favorite.

The most salient news Tuesday came from the rival barn of Todd Pletcher, who confirmed that Louisiana Derby victor and Belmont long shot Noble Indy (30-1, 25-1) will have the blinkers taken off for Saturday's race, three weeks after a lamentable 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

He laid off until they headed into the turn for home, where he got bumped and ran wide but was rallying at the end. He came in here safe and sound. "Just being there and a racing fan, I was glad to be a participant and feel the electricity and energy from all the people and the fans that day".

The soft-spoken Mott says he would nearly prefer to train the horses and send them over to the paddock to race while he stays back at the barn. "It's nearly as if they were greeting him".

Justify, who opened as a 4/5 favorite, is looking to become the first Triple Crown victor since American Pharoah, another Baffert horse, in 2015 but only the third since 1978.

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"He handled the trip well", Baffert said. His name was Justify, of course, and I even used him in my story lede many months ago despite the fact that he'd never run against a proven opponent.

Smith has curtailed his work schedule to focus on riding the best horses in the biggest races. We're just riding his coat-tails. "The talent and ability is there; he's the same type of horse [in that respect]".

"It's just a different vibe", said Justify's trainer Bob Baffert, who also trained Pharoah. "Showers and thunderstorms likely, with isolated downpours at times", Baffert said, chuckling. "You've got guys that have been there, done that and the whole experience is such a challenge". Normally, I'd jump on that offering and load up on Justify to win and maybe use him in some exotic bets as well.

The purse for the 2018 Belmont Stakes stands at $1.5 million.

Since the field far less crowded than the Kentucky Derby, post position is far less crucial - horses can't be forced all the way to the outside or lost in a pack of 20 horses if they get out to a slow start.

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"I'm very lucky in Venice and I told Bob either you send me back to Venice and win again or I'm going to the race", he said.

" target="_blank">WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing and who will be ridden on Saturday by 52-year-old Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, would go out to Belmont Park's main track to train after the renovation break at 8:45 a.m". If Justify wins the Belmont, he would earn the second-highest prize money all-time behind American Pharoah in unadjusted dollars.

"At the time, he had a reputation that he was drinking a lot", Pincay said.

"We are thrilled to see the success this ownership group has had together as they are all longtime supporters of our efforts", said New Vocations Program Director Anna Ford."Every member of this group truly cares about their horse's wellbeing beyond the track; we are extremely grateful for their generosity as we rely heavily on donations to continue to serve hundreds of racehorses retiring each year".

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