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Smith Justifies Legend Status

Thoroughbred
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On Sunday morning, the Bob Baffert-trained Justify became the 13th horse to complete the famous Triple Crown, taking out the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in the United States.

The colt was ridden by 52-year-old Mike Smith, who became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown.

Smith, who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall Of Fame in 2003, had won the Belmont Stakes on two previous occasions, while he had one the other two legs of the Triple Crown the Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby each on one occasion.

Smith is well known for his association with Zenyatta, and in more recent times Arrogate, who won the 2017 Dubai World Cup.

Despite all of his past successes, Smith said he rated the Triple Crown as his greatest achievement in racing.

“It’s the pinnacle of our sport here in the United States,” he told TABradio’s The Sports Daily on Wednesday.

“If you win the Triple Crown, you’ve done it all, I can ride off into the sunset if I want to.”

Smith said he always had high hopes for Justify.

“He came with a lot of high praise,” he said.

“The first time he raced, he showed right off the bat that he was a serious horse.

“It takes a great horse to pull this off, and for him to do it in such a short amount of time, it’s just incredible.”

When discussing the pressure he felt going into the Belmont Stakes, Smith said he tried to treat it the same as any other race.

“You have to do it one race at a time and forget about the past and forget about the Derby and the Preakness otherwise it will be too overwhelming,” he said

“I thought I have to win this race, and didn’t think about the Triple Crown.

“My main concern was making sure jumped out of the one (barrier).

“Once he jumped well, I was very confident he was going to run his race.”

You can listen to Smith’s full chat on TABradio below.

Tim Walker


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