He's just a big, tough horse.
In the hours before the race, Justify rested in Belmont's Barn 1, across the street from a Wendy's, undistracted by the beer-soaked fans who reveled close by - including one who almost relieved himself on a tree.
American Pharoah was the last horse to win the Triple Crown, capturing horse-racing's storied trifecta in 2015.
"Our focus was on each race as they came up", Walden said after unveiling Justify's Triple Crown banner inside Belmont Park. All of them are long races for a horse, from just under 1 1/4 miles to 1 1/2 miles. A crowd capped at 90,000 is expected for a chance to witness history. Justify won the Preakness by a half-length.
Coolmore will reportedly breed Justify primarily in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, where he could breed at least 250 times in his first year. That distance isn't widely raced in North America and it calls for a combination of stamina and speed. It showed with Curlin when he was clobbered at the start, taken out of his game, and forced to come from well back for the first time in his short career. Often it's the final quarter-mile that does in a contender.
On a cloudy 80-degree day at Belmont Park, Justify proved a cool customer. Justify reported home two lengths in front of that rival, with Hofburg (Tapit) rounding out the trifecta. The trainer of both Justify and American Pharaoh becomes just the second to ever win the Triple Crown twice - "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons also did it twice, with Gallant Fox and Omaha in the 1930s. He'll have nine horses to contend with. Bravazo finished sixth in the Derby and closed with a rush to take second in the Preakness.
Because of the timing in late January, it allows a horse to run one more time before breeding season begins. The colt named for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski brings a four-race winning streak into his USA debut.
"He probably broke better today than he has out of the other two (Derby and Preakness), to be honest with you", Smith said.
Especially considering another Stage Magic offspring, The Lieutenant, won a Grade 3 race last month, giving the mare two recent graded states winners.
Baffert will saddle a second horse: 30-1 shot Restoring Hope. In Justify's case, the facts make it clear he's among the top 3-year-olds in the sport's 350-year history. Breaking from the less-than-desired No. 1 post, Smith gunned Justify to the lead and never looked back. Slew also was a wire-to-wire Belmont victor. Wallace was still pinching himself hours after the race as the team around Justify set out to celebrate the unique achievement. Secretariat won by 31 lengths in a record time of 2:24.