Sports

Losing owner calls for investigation into tactics used in Belmont Stakes

Losing owner calls for investigation into tactics used in Belmont Stakes

A bit of intrigue has surfaced in the wake of Justify's Triple Crown-clinching victory on Saturday, with rival owner Mike Repole questioning jockey Florent Geroux's tactics aboard the other Bob Baffert-trained horse in the Belmont Stakes, Restoring Hope.

'Bob just wanted me to get good position, he wanted the horse to be forwardly placed, second or third, you don't see too many closers from Baffert, ' Geroux told the racing magazine.

Baffert joined Fitzsimmons as the only trainers to oversee two Triple Crown winners. The Triple Crowns of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed, coming as they did after a quarter of a century without, cast the sport in a bright white light that demanded attention.

"Well, here we are, back at Churchill", said Jimmy Barnes, Justify's assistant trainer.

In the case of Justify, the math is a lot different because a far larger deal for his breeding rights - $60 million - was concluded after he won the Derby but before he captured the Preakness and the Belmont.

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At one point, he said, Restoring Hope turned left in what seemed like a deliberate attempt to pin Preakness runner-up Bravazo on the rail and keep him away from Justify.

Justify began his racing career on February 18, a scant 77 days before the Kentucky Derby.

Justify crossed the finish line of 1.5-mile race in 2:28.18, becoming the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown. He is probably the least accomplished horse in the field.

Justify had a number of visitors to the barn Sunday, including Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who piloted the colt to victory Saturday, members of the China Horse Club and owner Ahmed Zayat, whose Zayat Stables campaigned American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) to become the 12th Triple Crown victor in 2015.

"It baffled me", Repole told the Daily Racing Form on Sunday.

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Baffert's reply: "There's plenty of gas in the tank, Don't use it all up at once".

The longest of the three triple crown races at 1.5 miles; often referred to as the "Test of the Champion".

A 37-1 longshot, Restoring Hope held the inside edge in second place for much of the race before eventually falling back to eighth.

In either case, he brings with him a record of six for six with earnings of $3.7 million. The on-track handle was $16,159,584, with 90,327 people in attendance.

All-sources handle for the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival was $168,975,295. "And I am so happy for Mike Smith".

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The Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the Triple Crown events.