But, the race is best summed up by a pre-race conversation between Elliot Walden of WinStar Farms (one of the partners in Justify along with China Horse Club, Head of the Plains Partners and Starlight Racing) and Bob Baffert. That's his job, to protect the other horse, and it worked for them.
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.
Jimmy Barnes, the assistant trainer in Bob Baffert's racing opeation, was in the spotlight Monday at Churchill Downs, but purely for the company he was keeping. He had expressed cautious confidence in the lead up to the race, saying afterward he was impressed Justify had "showed that brilliance".
Justify's victory moved Baffert past D. Wayne Lukas to become the winningest trainer in Triple Crown races with 15. "We're looking forward to sharing him more".
Seattle Slew, the only other horse now mentioned in the same breath as Justify, retains the distinction of being the lone 2-year-old champion to go undefeated through the Triple Crown, an achievement of extraordinary scope.
At some point in the relatively recent past, it was decided that horses can no longer do what Justify has done, and therefore, what Justify has done is fantastic.
A 37-1 longshot, Restoring Hope held the inside edge in second place for much of the race before eventually falling back to eighth. But New York Gaming Commission steward Steve Lewandoski told the Daily Racing Form that there is no plan to talk to Geroux. Two weeks later, he survived a challenge in the Preakness, winning by a half-length, again in the slop to set up a Triple Crown try.
"I was just watching the clock".
"It definitely seemed to me he was more of an offensive lineman than a racehorse trying to win the Belmont, and Justify was a running back trying to run for a touchdown", said Mike Repole, co-owner of Noble Indy and fourth-place Vino Ross.
The longest of the three triple crown races at 1.5 miles; often referred to as the "Test of the Champion".
"It never gets old", Baffert said.
Which is why there should be no surprise that the opening quarter-mile of the 150th Belmont Stakes last Saturday has become grist for post-race agita.