Mike Smith, 52, becomes oldest jockey to win Triple Crown

The late bloomer won the 150th Belmont Stakes in NY by 1¾ lengths on Saturday, leading all the way to give the sport its 13th Triple Crown champion.

Mike Smith, the jockey riding Justify in Saturday night's Belmont Stakes, could have said anything in his first television interview.

Gronkowski, named for the National Football League player, finished second, after having been last for the first half of the race.

Justify made history on Saturday by winning the Triple Crown, which reportedly increased the value of his breeding rights, according to ESPN.

Justify is 5-0 in a career that began with his first race in February.

The white mane of Justify trainer Bob Baffert, horse whisperer to the stars, is now known the world over.

Meanwhile, it looks like Justify will have to win his first Triple Crown race on a fast track. Superior horse. I mean, he could have won every race on the undercard today. Baffert called Justify one of the all-time greats. The New Mexico native won 15 Grade 1 races in 2017, including nine with Bob Baffert, the trainer of Justify and now a two-time Triple Crown victor. "Even just looking at him he's this massive handsome horse".

"I was so happy for him when he won", said Smith. American Pharoah, he'll always be my first love.

Should Justify win the Belmont and become the 13th horse to successfully sweep the Triple Crown, it will be something to watch. "I was going to bring four (horses) but I didn't want to buck those odds of, like a year ago".

"One of the things that I thought was important that we were behind the eight-ball", said Walden.

Baffert can expect to hear from officials at several tracks eager to lure racing's newest superstar, much like he did with American Pharaoh.

Ridden by Mike Smith, 52, Justify is only the second undefeated runner to win the Triple Crown, after the great Seattle Slew in 1977, with Baffert the second trainer to achieve the feat twice. To come so close in the Triple Crown. but we ran into a real buzz saw.

If there's a common theme among the crowd, it's the desire to take a selfie to bear witness to their attendance at Justify's bid for the Triple Crown.

Justify led for the entire race and completed the mile and a half in an unofficial time of 2 minutes 28.18 seconds.

Chris Kay, president of the New York Racing Association, joked that he would "hold Bode hostage until they make the decision", referring to Baffert's 13-year-old son.

"I'm really proud of my horse".

If Justify wins on Saturday, he will have faced the largest field (nine) of any of the previous 12 Triple Crown winners.

"He's so brilliant. Did you see him in the gate, he's standing so still", Smith said. So was Smith, who actually took a nap - something he never would've done as a younger jockey. Two weeks later, his shortest time between races, he captured the Preakness. Vino Rosso finished fourth, followed by Tenfold, Bravazo, Free Drop Billy, Restoring Hope, Blended Citizen and Noble Indy.

  • Julie Sanders