He won the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville on May 5, becoming the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the "Run for the Roses" without a start as a two-year-old, breaking the so-called "Curse of Apollo".
And it he does that, Justify will become horse racing the second Triple Crown victor in four years.
But the Belmont should go down on a fast track.
Justify's victory gives racing its second Triple Crown victor of the decade. He won with American Pharoah in 2015, ending a 37-year drought. Gronk even traveled to Belmont Park to watch Gronkowski race.
A sore heel a day after that victory raised brief concerns, but two weeks later Justify dug deep at fog-shrouded Pimlico to claim the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.
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But Justify found his own path.
Hofburg, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Irad Ortiz - and reckoned by many as a contender to thwart Justify's Triple Crown bid - was third in the field of 10. Would Justify fall victim to the fatigue and bad luck that had marked 13 failed Triple Crown bids between 1978 and 2015?
For the first time in this Triple Crown series, race day dawned sunny and dry. The Kentucky Derby prize money now totals roughly $2 million, with $1.24 million for the victor.
Justify was the morning line favorite to win the Belmont Stakes. Vino Rosso began making his move around the outside, and Gronkowski was steadily picking off horses along the inside rail.
A Justify win gave trainer Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown victor. He inspired favorable comparisons to American Pharoah. The farm that bought American Pharoah's stud rights made more than $20 million in 2016 alone.
Smith has managed to outlast the majority of his competitors, and remains one of the top jockeys despite being much older than most of the other jockeys. "To win six races in such a short amount of time is an unbelievable feat".
"Mike Smith, he deserves something like this", said Baffert, now one of only two trainers in history to saddle a pair of Triple Crown winners.