Triple Crown the aim for Justify at Belmont as Gronkowski eyes shock
History could be made in New York on Saturday evening when the stalls open for the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes.
The 1m Grade 1 contest is always a special event. But this year it takes on extra importance as the Bob Baffert-trained Justify bids to complete the historic Triple Crown.
The son of Scat Daddy has already claimed the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Victory in the Belmont Stakes will secure his place in history as only the second horse to land the hat-trick since Affirmed in 1978.
Baffert’s horse not only has the form to justify (no pun intended) his odds of 10/11. The trainer is also responsible for the only other raider to complete the three-pronged accolade since the aforementioned Affirmed.
American Pharaoh breezed home in the Preakness, Kentucky Derby and at Belmont in 2015 to secure his place in legend.
Now Justify has the chance to add his own name to that pantheon of greats. And it’s difficult to see him coming up short in conditions far more to his liking than his last two successes.
A rail side draw makes his task that little bit harder as Baffert bids to become only the second trainer ever to secure two Triple Crown triumphs.
Our traders make the William Mott-trained Hofburg the colt’s nearest competitor at 7/2.
The three-year-old finished seventh on far from ideal ground in the Kentucky Derby last time out and should fare better providing the weather holds up. One victory in four runs and successive defeats in Grade 1 events counts against his chances.
Bravazo pushed the jolly close in the Preakness last time out and is rated the next best at 8/1.
Wayne Lukas’ charge went off at odds of 153/10 at Pimlico and was only beaten by half-a-length on sloppy ground. He’s now 0-2 v Justify and will need to turn in another career-best run if he’s to challenge.
Named after the New England Patriots tight end, Gronkowski was due to make his United States debut for Newmarket-based trainer Jeremy Noseda in the Kentucky Derby.
The son of Lonhro suffered an infection which meant he was forced to miss the Run for the Roses. But he’s been handed an entry at Belmont as he bids to make history on his belated stateside bow.
He’s bidding for the five-timer in the Big Apple after reeling off four successive all-weather wins in the UK. The odds are stacked against the long-odds outsider up against the odds-on favourite.
However, it’s been a year of Classic shocks on these shores. And we can’t help but wonder if a bit of that magic could find its way across the pond on Saturday evening.
Click here for our latest Belmont Stakes odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing