Justify (1), with jockey Mike Smith up, crosses the finish line to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
(RNN) – When American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015, America hadn’t seen one in 37 years.
America only had to wait three years to see another thoroughbred accomplish the same feat.
Justify achieved immortality Saturday when he won the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, NY, just the 13th horse to clinch the American Triple Crown.
He had to run a quarter-mile longer than he ever had before to take the win. As it happens, the Belmont is a couple furlongs longer (two and a half, to be exact). It’s a couple furlongs longer, also, than the Kentucky Derby, which to this point is the longest race that Justify has run.
With rain and mud a strong possibility again, in New York on Saturday, the question was which Justify would we see?
At the Kentucky Derby, Justify made fairly easy work of a muddy, but not especially sloppy track. And his second win, back in March, came on a similarly soft Santa Anita course.
On a downright boggy Pimlico track at last month’s Preakness, it was a little less forgiving.
Justify ran a strong race about 90 percent of the way, but dragged some down the final stretch. If the race was a couple furlongs (1/8th mile), well, longer, he surely would have been caught.
Even so, Justify enjoyed a dry track on Saturday and led the race from start to finish.
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