Losing Belmont Stakes Owner Claims Collusion Helped Justify Win Triple Crown
Fourth-place horse's owner says Justify stablemate Restoring Hope blocked others to ensure victory.
A losing owner at the Belmont Stakes is accusing Justify’s stablemate of engaging in horseplay.
Mike Repole, the co-owner of fourth-place finisher Vino Rosso and last-place finisher Noble Indy in the Stakes, is calling for a review of how Restoring Hope was handled by jockey Florent Geroux during the Triple Crown race.
Reptile claims that Restoring Hope, who stables with Justify and is also trained by the Triple Crown winner’s trainer Bob Baffert, “was more of an offensive lineman than a racehorse trying to win the Belmont.”
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.
“Justify is a super horse. He is a Triple Crown winner and he’s undefeated,” Repole told The New York Post. “But I can see the stewards looking into this over the next couple of days. I probably expect them to look into reckless riding by Florent and bring him in to question him about what he was thinking and what his tactics were.”
“Why would you send a horse that breaks bad and take everybody out, then come back in?” added John Velazquez, the rider of Vino Rosso. “That’s his job, to protect the other horse and it worked for them. You have to give it to them.”
Geroux has yet to comment about the matter. Justify will continue to race throughout the year.
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