Many owners and trainers hold back their horses from the Preakness.
The last time there was a Triple Crown coronation, President Barack Obama was still in office, Princess Charlotte was a month old and the long-suffering Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series since 1908. Bravazo finished sixth in the Derby and closed with a rush to take second in the Preakness.
Justify carried that swagger through the 1½-mile race, starting from the rail and jumping to an early lead. All three races that make up the Triple Crown vary in distance, so a horse known for its blistering pace might fare better at The Preakness where the distance is less enduring.
Justify, who raced to a contested victory at the Belmont States on Saturday evening to clinch the 13th Triple Crown in horse racing history, sparked plenty of euphoria as he crossed the finish. And as in England, to win the Triple Crown in America carries with it the utmost that can be won on our racecourses. But the Belmont should go down on a fast track. "I will never know".
Besides the grueling distance, the track itself can be tricky. You've got to run against everybody and it only takes one good one to beat you.
Historically, deep closers have not fared well in the Belmont, so riders will seek to put their horses within a few lengths at the quarter pole. Justify won by 1¾ lengths, leaving the impression it could've been more if he felt like it. "He's got such a natural high cruising speed and he can just kind of keep on going". Justify, a distant relative of fellow Triple Crown title holder, Secretariat, broke records before he even got past the Kentucky Derby. In 2014, a Peter Pan victor, Tonalist, squelched California Chrome's Triple Crown bid. It was his first time running on dirt, his first time going a mile and a half and he was coming off the layoff.
"It's been the longest, quickest journey", a hoarse-sounding Baffert said as light rain fell outside Justify's barn. On the other side of the deal was Coolmore, the breeding farm that also oversees American Pharoah's sire activities.
Not only did Justify give the 65-year-old trainer his second Triple Crown in four years on Saturday, but for the second straight year, Baffert came away with a win in every race he had an entry on the day of the Belmont Stakes. The forecast calls for 80 degrees and a 20 percent chance of rain. He refused comparisons between the two horses, saying they are different types of racers. "Once he enters the building, it'll be like Elvis".