Justify's stablemate Restoring Hope accused of blocking at Belmont Stakes

Justify's stablemate Restoring Hope accused of blocking at Belmont Stakes

The chestnut colt's wire-to-wire victory came in the 150st running of the Belmont Stakes Championship Horse Race at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York on Saturday.

Restoring Hope, with jockey Florent Geroux up, appeared to run interference for the champion on Saturday while traveling second and forcing would-be challengers to go extremely wide. In the photo below, you can see Restoring Hope, in pink, coming up strong on the outside of Justify, in red.

Justify became the 13th thoroughbred to win horse racing's Triple Crown.

Completing the order of finish after Vino Rosso were Tenfold, Bravazo, Free Drop Billy, Restoring Hope, Blended Citizen and Noble Indy.

Did Justify get a little help in winning the Triple Crown?

"It definitely seemed to me he was more of an offensive lineman than a racehorse trying to win the Belmont", said Repole of 37-1 Restoring Hope, "and Justify was a running back trying to run for a touchdown".

While Justify and Mike Smith, his Hall of Fame rider, smoothly accelerated after breaking from the rail to seize the early lead, Geroux rode vigorously to hustle Restoring Hope toward the front. He stayed in second, 1½ to 2 lengths behind Justify, for a mile before retreating to eighth.

'The plan was to sit off Justify, ' the trainer said.

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"I'd never thought I'd be this close to the most famous race horse in the world", King said.

Gary West, who owns Restoring Hope, also spoke out in fury about how his horse was handled in the race.

"I have no earthly idea what Florent was thinking or what his race strategy was", he told the Post in an email.

Since 1990, there have been 10 instances where horses have won the first two of the three legs of the Triple Crown: Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, Charismatic in 1999, War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in 2003, Smarty Jones in 2004, Big Brown in 2008, I'll Have Another in 2012 and California Chrome in 2014.

Justify becomes the thirteenth Triple Crown victor and the first since American Pharoah in 2015.

'Justify's a freak, super horse, undefeated, awesome what he's done, ' Repole told DFR. He has won all six races he has run this year.

Doug Bredar, the agent for Geroux, said he has no comment and Geroux has no comment.

"When he broke a step slow - he's kind of an aggressive horse to ride, he pulls very hard - I wanted to make sure I put him in the clear", Geroux said.

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