Jus­tify, Baf­fert eye Triple Crown glory at Bel­mont Stakes

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS -

Bob Baf­fert hopes Jus­tify can gal­lop into US thor­ough­bred rac­ing’s hall of fame on Satur­day when he bids to be­come the 13th horse in his­tory to com­plete the Triple Crown at the 150th run­ning of the Bel­mont Stakes.

A vic­tory for the un­beaten three­year-old at Bel­mont Park would com­plete a re­mark­able sea­son for Jus­tify, who has al­ready stormed to vic­tory in the Ken­tucky Derby and Preak­ness.

It would also en­sure im­mor­tal­ity for Cal­i­for­nia-based Baf­fert, who would be­come only the sec­ond trainer in his­tory to win two Triple Crowns af­ter Jim Fitzsim­mons achieved the feat in 1930 and 1935.

Baf­fert, who suc­cess­fully guided Amer­i­can Pharoah to the tre­ble in 2015, in­sists how­ever he is not in­ter­ested in per­sonal glory ahead of this week­end’s race on Long Is­land.

“At Bel­mont I want to win for the horse,” Baf­fert told re­porters. “I want Jus­tify to be up there with those great horses. “It’s not about [ jockey] Mike Smith or Bob Baf­fert, it’s about Jus­tify. Be­cause he’s the one do­ing all the work. I want to see his name up there.”

If Jus­tify is to take his place in the equine pan­theon, he will have to do it the hard way. The 4-5 fa­vorite drew the rail at Tues­day’s draw, mean­ing he’ll need to make a fast start out of the gate or risk being caught in traf­fic.

“I never like to draw the rail,” Baf­fert said im­me­di­ately af­ter the draw.

“But we have it, we can’t change it, and we have to deal with it.”

Baf­fert’s mood has im­proved since Jus­tify ar­rived at Bel­mont Park this week, where he has been “float­ing” over the track in train­ing.

“It looked like he took to the track re­ally well,” Baf­fert said. “He was happy.”

Baf­fert re­ported that the horse’s testy tem­per­a­ment re­mained in­tact.

“He bit me a cou­ple of days ago while I was walk­ing him,” he said.

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