Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Twitter reacts after Gronkowski finishes second at Belmont Stakes

Twitter reacts after Gronkowski finishes second at Belmont Stakes

"This horse ran a tremendous race, he's so gifted", said Mike Smith, who at 52 is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

Given the fact that only three years had passed since the last Triple Crown victor, there wasn't almost as much pre-race media hype as there had been in 2015 when American Pharoah won the Belmont to become the first Triple Crown victor since Affirmed in 1978. Baffert, 65, had less than a year to train Justify who suffered a minor injury and didn't race his second year. Horse racing's latest superstar will attempt to become the 13th Triple Crown victor in U.S. Thoroughbred racing and he has a great chance to accomplish the feat. "A Triple Crown victor is rare enough; an undefeated Triple Crown victor is rarer still".

He ran the longest race of the series in 2:28.18 and paid $3.60, $3.50 and $2.80.

Vino Rosso finished fourth, followed by Tenfold, Bravazo, Free Drop Billy, Restoring Hope, Blended Citizen and Noble Indy.

Vino Rosso won his first two career starts late previous year in impressive fashion before contesting two Kentucky Derby prep stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. 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.

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American Pharoah was the last horse to win the Triple Crown, capturing horse-racing's storied trifecta in 2015. "He is a magnificent animal".

Justify, the Triple Crown victor, will get a well-deserved break before racing again this year, although no date or location has been targeted.

Justify is a massive horse. More than $10 million was bet on the race. "He's now become a household name, and I'm looking forward to his next race just as much as you guys are".

Baffert had fretted after Justify drew the No. 1 post, a spot he detests for his horses. "So far he hasn't gotten overheated or get too anxious about things".

There was one horse, however, who was a threat to Justify's Triple Crown bid at the top of the Belmont Park stretch. Vino Rosso made the most serious move to get within a length but never threatened.

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Behind him horses diced for position.

But Gronkowski went off at 24-1 and broke dead last.

The Patriots, of course, were victim to the Giants in both Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI, where tight end Rob Gronkowski just narrowly missed hauling in a hail mary on the final play of the game.

"I think he's the greatest of all time", Smith said. Mara said of Smith. "I mean, they're a good combination and they got the job done". After not racing as a 2-year-old, Justify has made up for lost time. And when they questioned Justify's grueling workload - five races in three months, with the Belmont his sixth in less than four months - Baffert said his horse was tough enough to handle it.

On this afternoon, they had each other's backs.

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