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) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Justify won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, earning him the coveted Triple Crown.
The historic win makes Justify the 13th Triple Crown champion and the first to claim the title since American Pharoah did it in 2015.
Prior to his victory, the thoroughbred had a spotless 5-0 record in his brief career and had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
Winning by 1 3/4 lengths, hall of fame jockey Mike Smith and the thoroughbred defeated nine other competitors as they crossed the finish line in the 1 1/2-mile race. Justify is the first Triple Crown winner to face that many rivals in Belmont .
Justify (1), with jockey Mike Smith up, crosses the finish line to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race and the Triple Crown on Saturday in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Race horse Gronkowski, who is named after and partially owned by Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, took second place and Hofburg placed in third. Justify was challenged momentarily at the top of the stretch and then drew off the roars of a crowd of 90,000 viewers.
The win marks the second Triple Crown for Justify’s coach, trainer Bob Baffert, in just three years – he also won in 2015 with American Pharoah.
Smith, at 52, is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.
Fox News’ Jennifer Earl and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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