"It is a tremendous honor for Keeneland to have sold racing's newest Triple Crown victor, Justify", Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. Justify becomes the 13th horse to achieve the Triple Crown.
Justify crossed the finish line of 1.5-mile race in 2:28.18, becoming the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown. Adjusting for inflation, that figure would be $104 million today.
Because of his value as a stud, there's a chance that Justify's racing career is over, though there are still a few races he could take on later in the year.
Baffert, who also trained 2015 Triple Crown victor American Pharoah, defended the strategy of having Restoring Hope keep the pace.
Baffert took American Pharoah to Saratoga in August 2015 and the Triple Crown victor was upset by Keen Ice in the Travers. "That's his job, to protect the other horse, and it worked for them", Velazquez said.
Last year, Baffert won four races with Mor Spirit (Metropolitan Handicap), Abel Tasman (Acorn), American Anthem (Woody Stephens) and West Coast (Easy Goer).
Baffert seemed to acknowledge that the plan for Restoring Hope was to lay in second for the first turn, but not as part of a plan to help Justify.
"He has natural speed", Baffert said.
Baffert can expect to hear from officials at several tracks eager to lure racing's newest superstar, much like he did with American Pharaoh.
Coolmore Stud had already negotiated for a $60 million deal, but Justify's Triple Crown win was worth a $15 million bonus, turning the breeding fee into a record breaker. And, not for nothing, Seattle Slew raced six times and won six times in the 95 days between his 3-year-old debut in March and his triumph in the Belmont Stakes. We're looking forward to sharing him more.
The Belmont Stakes Day card generated an all-sources handle of $137,954,895 - the second-highest in one day New York Racing Association History behind Belmont Stakes Day in 2014.
"Pharoah made so many people feel good", Baffert said. "Oh, Mike. Don't empty that tank", Baffert said.
The eighth-place finisher cut back and forth during the race, cutting off Noble Indy and altering the positions of several other horses while never really challenging Justify for the lead.