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Why I Think Justify Will Sweep the 2018 Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes

By Noah Davis
Published on June 07, 2018
Justify to Win 2018 Triple Crown

The 150th running of the Belmont Stakes arrives on Saturday, June 9th. Justify enters as the heavy favorite after besting the competition in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and will operate out of the #1 post position.

The field for this year’s Belmont Stakes was finally made official on Tuesday with the post draw, while nine other colts will combat Justify in an effort to buck history.

Those other nine horses have a shot at glory in their own right, but they’d also carry the honor of preventing history.

Top horse racing betting sites like Bovada have Justify at a nice -125 price, with the next-closest horse carrying +450 odds into the final leg of the 2018 Triple Crown.

There is a lot on the line here. Justify has impressed with two clutch wins and comes into the 2018 Belmont Stakes at a perfect 5-0, but it’s fair to wonder if he’ll answer the bell of history and secure just the 13th-ever Triple Crown sweep.

Vegas seems to think he will win, as virtually every Belmont Stakes betting site pegs him as either a mild or heavy favorite.

Should bettors feel as good about Justify’s chances? It’s one thing to like him for the Belmont Stakes in a field of 10 horses, but with such historic pressure working against him, it’d only make sense for him to fail.

Of course, there’s plenty of logic supporting it. In fact, if you plan on betting on the Belmont Stakes, consider the following reasons before wagering against Justify.

All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from Bovada on 6/6/2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

The Path to a Win Is Simple

Trainer Bob , but while he fears the possibility of Justify getting lost early and pinned against the rail, he at least knows what he’s in for.

In theory, coming from the top spot on the inside forces Justify to jump out to an early lead and get ahead of the pack.

The question, of course, is if Justify can then sustain that lead and fend off the field in a longer track than he’s accustomed to.

That remains to be determined, but with a simplified strategy, Justify can focus on the best way to win this race, rather than considering numerous options.

While Baffert isn’t too excited about the #1 spot, it does happen to be the leading post draw for Belmont Stakes winners (23). It’s also worth noting that five of those winners wound up securing a Triple Crown sweep.

The Field Isn’t That Scary

Vegas and competitors in the Belmont Stakes will try to suggest otherwise, but this 10-horse field really doesn’t seem that scary.

Justify has had some close calls, but he’s ultimately prevailed in the end thanks to elite speed and an ability to sense the pressure late.

Bravazo (+750) gave him a serious run for his money at the Preakness, but this race is longer, and there’s no guarantee he’ll get so close again.

If Justify jumps out early like he’s going to have to, his speed could give him a big enough lead to withstand anything this group of horses has to throw at him.

More specifically, there just aren’t many heavy-hitters in this bunch.

Some of these horses have some speed, are well-trained, and have some big wins, but none have displayed the resume Justify has to this point.

That isn’t to say this is a field of slouches, but it’s at least comparable to what Justify dealt with at the Preakness Stakes and arguably inferior to a more loaded field at the Kentucky Derby.

Nobody is suggesting Justify is necessarily unbeatable, but the field he’s trying to beat isn’t anything new.

He’s faced stiff competition several times now and won in different ways. He can surely do so again this weekend.

Bob Baffert Has Been Here

I’m not sure you can simply look to who the trainer is and bank on past success, but it does count for something.

Not only has Baffert enjoyed a ton of success in the Triple Crown as a whole, but he’s already been in this exact situation.

He swept the whole thing with American Pharoah back in 2015 and has been comparing Justify to that horse throughout the Triple Crown season.

Even when Baffert isn’t sweeping the Triple Crown, he’s at least fared well in this race. He won here for the first time with Point Given back in 2001 and has three other runner-up finishes.

Finishing second won’t do the trick this time around, but the point is that Baffert knows how to work Belmont Park, and when he’s got a champion, he has a chance.

Justify Is the Favorite

It never hurts to be favored going into a big race. Justify earned that label ahead of the other two Triple Crown events and again gets that honor going into the 2018 Belmont Stakes.

Obviously, that worked out well the first two times for Justify, and he’ll hope to go three-for-three as a favorite during the Triple Crown.

History isn’t exactly on Justify’s side in terms of how favorites have fared at the Belmont Stakes, but in such a volatile setting, I’ll take a 42% conversion rate.

That’s right, out of 149 prior runnings of the last leg of the Triple Crown, 62 favorites have made good on their billing and notched the win.

The success rate does dip even further for horses trying to cement a TC sweep, but history is on the line, and I won’t hear the doubting simply because Justify is regarded as the most talented horse.

In the end, I trust Bob Baffert’s experience, and I believe Justify is a special talent.

Justify’s speed grading has dipped throughout these Triple Crown races, but he survived a loaded Kentucky Derby field and also got through messy conditions to survive Bravazo at the Preakness. There’s no reason to think that the Belmont is going to be a daunting prospect for him.

Summary

This horse has already made history, and I think he has a great shot of making more.

Vegas also likes him, and bettors are getting relatively nice value at a -125 price. I don’t mind hopping on that, and as you can see, there is plenty of logic behind that move.

You don’t have to bet on Justify if you don’t agree. However, don’t be too shocked when horse racing crowns another historic champion when the dust settles at Belmont Park this Saturday.

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Why I Think Justify Will Sweep the 2018 Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes
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Why I Think Justify Will Sweep the 2018 Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes
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Justify has a chance to make history as the 13th-ever Triple Crown winner, and there’s plenty of reason to believe he will. In this article, I cover why.
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