Baffert was confident that the curse, known as the Apollo curse, would be broken before Justify stepped out onto the track. Justify gave Baffert his 16th victory as trainer in the Triple Crown series - five Kentucky Derbies, seven Preaknesses and three Belmonts - breaking a tie with D. Wayne Lukas for tops all-time. The next best choices were 6-1 odds shared by Bravazo and Hofburn. The latest that any of the first 12 thoroughbred immortals got started was September 20, the date of Seattle Slew's first race in 1976.
The Belmont Stakes, to be held for the 150th time, is the longest of the triple crown races. "American Pharoah, he'll always be my first love". So the jockey winning the Belmont Stakes probably makes around $50,000.
The Hall of Fame trainer won the $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational with Hoppertunity. It may seem like those last few Derby finishers are just going to be also-rans, but anything can happen in horse racing. Would Justify fall victim to the fatigue and bad luck that had marked 13 failed Triple Crown bids between 1978 and 2015?
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Saturday could be a big day in the life of a former SIU football player.
HOPPERTUNITY to the front in the G2 Brooklyn!
The food in some ways is typically NY: pizza, wings, hot dogs and beer. That'll be run later Saturday.
Earlier, Baffert and Smith teamed to win the $750,000 Ogden Phipps with Abel Tasman.
Smith climbed aboard for the next race on March 18 at a muddy Santa Anita.
The 52-year-old jockey knows the sprawling track and its sweeping turns well, having been the leading rider in NY from 1991 to '92.m. The crowd was capped at 90,000.
Hofburg, a 9/2 shot ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., is rated by punters as the most likely to beat Justify.
He won the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville on May 5, becoming the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the "Run for the Roses" without a start as a two-year-old, breaking the so-called "Curse of Apollo".
Save for a news helicopter circling during training hours, the scene was as mellow as could be - three years between Triple Crown attempts will have such an effect.
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Hancock sustained a hip injury, but was in good condition after being transported to a nearby hospital, the park service said. Rangers recommend park visitors stay at least 25 yards away from animals, and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.