Justify enjoys ‘smooth’ gallop in final Belmont drill

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NEW YORK (AP) Justify turned in another strong gallop Friday in his final preparation for a Triple Crown bid in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.

The chestnut colt will be the odds-on favorite Saturday to become the 13th horse to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

Similar to Thursday, Justify went 1 3-8 miles in what Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert calls “another smooth, good day.” He says Justify has been “moving over the track really well,” adding “this is what a trainer hopes to see the day before his horse runs.”

Baffert will be looking to saddle a second Triple Crown champion following American Pharoah in 2015.

Ron Turcotte was among those watching Justify’s final Belmont drill. Turcotte rode Secretariat to the Triple Crown in 1973 and now needs a wheelchair since a racing spill in 1978.

Rafael Bejarano rides 4,000th winner at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Jockey Rafael Bejarano rode his 4,000th career winner at Santa Anita.

He guided filly Portal Creek to a 3 }-length victory in the third race Saturday for trainer Bob Hess Jr.

The 36-year-old Peruvian jockey says Santa Anita has always been a special place for him. He won six races at the Southern California track in his first day riding there on April 8, 2006.

Bejarano came to the U.S. in 2002 after training at a national riding academy in Peru. He led the U.S. in victories with 455 in 2004.

He has career purse earnings of $200,611,833 and five victories in the Breeders’ Cup.

Maximum Security to race for first time since Kentucky Derby

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OCEANPORT, N.J. — Maximum Security will race this weekend for the first time since being disqualified in the Kentucky Derby.

The Jason Servis-trained colt was among six 3-year-olds entered Thursday for the $150,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

The 1 1/16-mile race in New Jersey will be the first in more than two months for Maximum Security. The colt galloped 1 1/8 miles here Wednesday.

In the Derby on May 2, Maximum Security got to the finish line 1}-lengths ahead of Country House. The victory was overturned 22 minutes later when the stewards disqualified the 9-2 second choice because of interference with eventual Preakness winner War of Will and other horses.

It marked the first time in the 145-year history of the Derby that the first-place finisher was disqualified for interference.