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Justify to make run for Triple Crown from Belmont rail

07 June, 2018, 07:26 | Author: Greg Wolfe
  • Jockey Martin Garcia works Triple Crown hopeful Justify at Churchill Downs in Louisville Ky. Tuesday

In the draw for post positions on Tuesday, Justify drew the No. 1 gate for the race at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Eastern after a flight from Kentucky, where he had been based since his victory in the Preakness Stakes.

Romans was seventh in the 2012 Belmont with Dullahan, who inherited the favorite's role when Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor I'll Have Another was scratched on the eve of the race with a career-ending injury.

Free Drop Billy, 16th in the May 5 Kentucky Derby last time out, will break from post-position 2 in a field of 10 as a 30-1 outsider in the program. His fleet offspring, such as Lady Aurelia, Caravaggio, Acapulco, No Nay Never and Sioux Nation, tend to label Scat Daddy as a speed type rather than a horse with stamina, but Scat Daddy performed well in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby with Lady of Shamrock, Daddys Lil Darling, Dacita and Harmonize all winning at classic distances or beyond. We have it; we can't change it.

Now he enters the $1.5m race at Belmont Park as America's next great equine sensation, looking to join a famous roll of thoroughbreds to capture the Triple Crown that includes Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978) and American Pharoah (2015). "So we'll just deal with it".

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To do so, he'll have to best yet another talented field of horses, including some running on fresh legs that could spoil the party many racing fans are planning for the big day.

The course at Belmont is the longest of the Triple Crown races, and will present Justify's toughest task yet.

The only concern is Justify's post position on the rail. His 98 Brisnet speed figure in the Preakness is complimented by his 107 pace figure, which, when added together (205), nearly equals that of his Kentucky Derby performance (204). But none have won from the rail since Empire Maker in 2003. In 2013, Lukas brought Oxbow (Awesome Again) to Belmont to follow up a win in the Preakness with a runner-up finish.

In the past 20 races, every post from 1 through 13 has produced at least one victor, except for Gate 10.

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