Arizona Alum Bob Baffert wins Second Triple Crown

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The fantastic comet that is Justify proved that, bursting on the scene to win the Kentucky Derby, surviving the fog to win the Preakness, then leading wire-to-wire over the mile-and-a-half on Saturday to become just the sport's 13th Triple Crown champion.

Justify is just the second horse to capture the Triple Crown undefeated, joining Seattle Slew (1977). Baffert, 65, had less than a year to train Justify who suffered a minor injury and didn't race his second year.

More importantly, to his owners at least, the win makes him the most valuable horse in racing history.

"Our focus was on each race as it came up, and now we can take a deep breath and just see how the horse is, " Walden said.

A win for Justify would be Bob Baffert's second as a trainer. Troutt admitted, "Yes, I did have butterflies down the stretch". Justify becomes the thirteenth Triple Crown victor and the first since American Pharoah in 2015.

"I was just surprised on how well he handled the atmosphere at the Derby with the crowd, how he handled it at the Preakness because every time he shows up people start yelling and screaming and he just looks at them like, 'Thank you, '" Baffert said. "It has a different feel". He then battled through the slop to win the Preakness Stakes and set up his bid for American racing's Holy Grail. Justify was anything but typical. Justify began his racing career on February 18, a scant 77 days before the Derby.

He ran the longest race of the series in 2:28.18 and paid $3.60, $3.50 and $2.80. According to The New York Times, the publication first used the term in 1923, but it was not a common term until 1930. He also took the lead as the victor of the most Triple Crown races.

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Smith, at 52, is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

His peers couldn't help but give him credit for leading Justify so far in such a short period.

For WinStar to part with such a promising stallion seems puzzling, but Walden often says the operation remains viable because it's willing to sell horses, too. He's been training at Saratoga since the Kentucky Derby and should be fresh after not running in the Preakness. He's the only horse with experience racing at Belmont Park, having won the Peter Pan there on May 12. He says he's ridden plenty of unbelievable horses but that there is just something special about Justify.

"I can't describe the emotions right now". "We got him in November, after the Breeders' Cup, and took our time with him, no rush". The California weather is very consistent. Only a great horse could have done it.

Baffert said he was "in awe" of Pharoah when he won, and "in shock" seeing him win.

"The only way we can be competitive with the big boys of the breeding world is by backing ourselves and finding these horses as yearlings", Field said.

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