Baffert had fretted after Justify drew the No. 1 post, a spot he detests for his horses.
The win also gave trainer Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown victor along with 2015's American Pharoah, as well his record 15th Triple Crown race win. He burnished his reputation by defeating nine rivals, the most faced by any Triple Crown champion.
In the last 16 years, the only race-day favorite to win the Belmont Stakes was American Pharoah.
If you're on a computer and already have a cable or satellite subscription then the 2018 Belmont Stakes live stream is available here at NBC Sports Live Extra. Justify's owners are betting on his worldwide appeal.
Gronkowski finished second in the race.
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Now he has joined Jim Fitzsimmons, who conditioned Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935, as the only trainers to saddle two Triple Crown winners. Two weeks later, he survived a challenge in the Preakness, winning by a half-length, again in the slop to set up a Triple Crown try. In other words, the team behind a Triple Crown victor simply receives the sum total of the top prizes in each race. At Preakness Stakes, the "Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown", $2.5 million is given out in prize money over the course of a 14-race program, including a $1.5 million purse in the main race and roughly $900,000 for that race's top finisher.
It was the second Triple Crown for trainer Bob Baffert and the first for jockey Mike Smith.
"This horse started his journey just four months ago, and he's brought us along on his coattails". The only other unbeaten Triple Crown victor was Seattle Slew in 1977. But he likely won't be lauded as horse racing's history savior, like American Pharoah. He quickly decided that in nearly 40 years as a jockey, he'd never ridden a more gifted 3-year-old.
The thoroughbred now has won six races in as many tries.
"I just kept a leg on each side and my mind in the middle", Smith said.
That's not what the jockey would actually deposit into the bank, however.
History is about to judge experts and analysts offering their picks for the 2018 Belmont Stakes.