While Justify is the heavy favorite heading into the 2018 Belmont Stakes, the undefeated colt had a tight race in the Preakness Stakes and is facing a difficult field again this Saturday on NBC.
Winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes is no guarantee that the Belmont is a lock.
Belmont Stakes: What Time, Where To Watch and More
Here are the five most recent horses that won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but came up short at Belmont Park.
California Chrome (2014): Finished fourth in Belmont
Big Brown (2008): Did not finish Belmont
Smarty Jones (2004): Finished second in Belmont
Funny Cide (2003): Finished third in Belmont
War Emblem (2002): Finished eighth in Belmont
What: 150th Belmont Stakes
When: June 9, 2018
Post time: 6:37 p.m ET
Where to watch: NBC, NBC Sports app
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert swept the CashCall Futurity and Starlet for 2-year-olds, winning the Grade 1 races for the second straight year at Los Alamitos.
Improbable won the $300,345 Futurity by five lengths as the 1-5 favorite and 3-2 favorite Chasing Yesterday won the $300,345 Starlet by a head on Saturday. Drayden Van Dyke became the second jockey to win both races in the same year.
Baffert earned his fifth straight victory in the Futurity and his 11th overall, having won it six times at old Hollywood Park.
Improbable ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.18 and paid $2.40 to win. The colt’s ownership includes most of the group that owned Triple Crown winner Justify.
In the Starlet, Chasing Yesterday ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.59 and paid $5 to win. She is a half-sister to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, also trained by Baffert.
DEL MAR, Calif. — Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza is aiming to return to riding in January, six months after he was seriously injured in a training accident.
The 46-year-old rider says he had an MRI recently and “it came out perfect.” Espinoza says he doesn’t need surgery and his spinal cord has healed “perfectly,” which was his main concern.
He fractured a vertebra in his neck at Del Mar last July when the horse he was exercising fell.
Espinoza was back at Del Mar on Saturday for the first time since the accident. He presented the trophy to the winning connections in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. He has been recuperating at his Del Mar home.
Espinoza says he hopes to return sometime in January at Santa Anita. The track opens its winter meet on Dec. 26.
He rode American Pharoah to a Triple Crown sweep in 2015.