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Justify defied all the odds on his way to achieving Triple Crown immortality. Baffert, of course, saddled American Pharoah in 2015 when he ended a record 37-year drought.

Thirty-seven years had passed before American Pharoah broke the Triple Crown curse.

"If you're a superior horse, you can do it", trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday.

With Mike Smith replacing less experienced Drayden Van Dyke in the irons, Justify coasted by 6 ½ lengths in a March 11 allowance race before making the leap to Grade 1 competition in the Santa Anita Derby.

That said, if any horse can overcome two muddy tracks and a third field stacked with talent some of whom are running on fresh legs, it's Justify.

No chance. Between his imposing size and the way his chestnut coat glistens in the sun, Justify is hard to overlook, particularly with his muscular hind legs propelling him forward. "I certainly could have got after him a whole lot more a lot earlier and made him do a little more, as well". Horse racing's defiant ones proved they were hostage to no timetable but their own.

Justify has won all six stakes races he has run.

John Velazquez was already asking Vino Rosso for more run nearing the quarter pole, while Smith had yet to even loosen his reins on Justify.

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If that victor is Justify, then US thoroughbred racing will have its 13 Triple Crown champion. Majority he has already beaten, in either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, but there are a few new faces.

Won his first race on February 18 at Santa Anita Park by 9-1/2 lengths.

It was the largest Belmont field ever beaten by a Triple Crown victor.

Hofburg, a 9/2 shot ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., is rated by punters as the most likely to beat Justify.

"I can't describe the emotions going through my body right now", he continued.

The Belmont is known as the "Test of the Champion" for good reason: it's the first and likely last time these 3-year-old colts will be running 1 ½ miles.

Justify won the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/2 lengths and triumphed narrowly at the Preakness Stakes - both races run in sloppy conditions.