The Year’s Best Races, #2: Triple Crown Triumph as Justify Wins the Belmont Stakes

Justify, with Mike Smith aboard, became the 13th Triple Crown winner in North American horse racing with a clear win in the Belmont Stakes on June 9. (Eclipse Sportswire)

After going 37 years without a Triple Crown, horse racing celebrated its second Triple Crown winner in just the last four years as Justify joined the ranks of 2015 champion American Pharoah when he captured the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Not only was 2018 the year of Justify, it’ll also be remembered for dozens of heart-stopping races, thrilling battles and long-shot winners for the ages. We’re looking back on the year by counting down the top 15 races, one race a day, until the calendar turns to 2019.

*Note that our list of best races for 2018 only includes races run in North America.

To view the other top 15 races, click here and scroll down.

#2: Triple Crown Triumph as Justify Wins the Belmont Stakes

Fans had to wait 37 years to see the dreaded drought of the Triple Crown end in 2015 with American Pharoah. Justify would see to it that we only had to wait three years to see another Triple Crown triumph. The undefeated superstar, guided by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, went straight to the lead in the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets and never looked back. Aside from a brief moment when it looked like longshot Gronkowski might challenge Justify turning for home, the Triple Crown never seemed in doubt. Justify became just the 13th horse in history to ever sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. He was only the second to do it as an undefeated horse and the only one to do it without having raced as a 2-year-old.

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