1. #1
    nyplayer33's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    Justify belmont stakes...NASSAU WE HAVE PROBLEMS

    Justify’s emergence as the only undefeated Triple Crown champion after Seattle Slew and the 13th horse overall to complete the rare sweep went from a feel-good story to one awash in controversy on Sunday.

    Queens native Mike Repole, co-owner of fourth-place Vino Rosso and last-place Noble Indy in the field of 10, hopes Belmont Park stewards will question jockey Florent Geroux about his handling of Restoring Hope, Justify’s stablemate, for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

    “Justify is a super horse. He is a Triple Crown winner and he’s undefeated,” said Repole, emphasizing his admiration for the powerful, 6-for-6 colt. “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.”

    While Justify and Mike Smith, his Hall of Fame rider, smoothly accelerated after breaking from the rail to seize the early lead, Geroux rode vigorously to hustle Restoring Hope toward the front. He soon assumed a position just behind Justify and to his outside.

    “It definitely seemed to me he was more of an offensive lineman than a racehorse trying to win the Belmont,” said Repole of 37-1 Restoring Hope, “and Justify was a running back trying to run for a touchdown.”

    Gary West, who owns Restoring Hope, was livid about the handling of his horse.

    “I have no earthly idea what Florent was thinking or what his race strategy was,” he said in an email response to a request for an interview. “Had I known better, the first eighth of a mile I would have thought it was a quarter-horse race, not the mile-and-a-half Belmont. Maybe the horse was completely out of control and Florent had no choice. I will never know.”

    Doug Bredar, the agent for Geroux, said he has no comment and Geroux has no comment.

    When a reporter asked Baffert after the race if Restoring Hope served as a “wing man” for Justify, Baffert replied: “He has natural speed. His only chance was to be up near the lead.”

    West declined comment on whether Restoring Hope was used to block for Justify, who settled into a comfortable, unpressured advantage that he never relinquished.

    “Everyone looks at things differently,” West said. “We didn’t belong in the race, anyway, and that is my fault.”

    Restoring Hope was making his first Grade 1 test after he was whipped by 24 ¼ lengths in finishing 12th in the Pat Day Mile on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs as part of the Kentucky Derby undercard.

    D. Wayne Lukas, who trained sixth-place Bravazo, does not believe Restoring Hope’s presence mattered. But he acknowledged: “That was strange the way they sent him up there. I mean, he compromised a few horses with blocking and so forth.”

    Repole said he questioned Javier Castellano on Sunday morning about his failure to follow instructions with Noble Indy. The 24-1 long shot was expected to confront Justify early with the hope of softening him for Vino Rosso’s late kick. Todd Pletcher, a three-time Belmont winner, trains Noble Indy and Vino Rosso.

    “All week and in the paddock, Todd and I were crystal clear to Javier to make the lead,” Repole said. “He broke good. Mike Smith broke good. We definitely saw an opportunity that Javier, being told to make the lead, could have, or at least pressured Justify.”

    WinStar Farm, a major player in racing, has financial stakes in Justify and Noble Indy.

    Owners with two horses that possess complementary styles often attempt to use one to set up another since both can be said to be trying to win in different ways. Repole said of Noble Indy, “If he has a 5 percent chance to win, his only chance to win was to be on the lead.”

    The notion of one long shot possibly “blocking” for a heavy favorite, not to mention one bidding for the Triple Crown, is extraordinary.

    As for Castellano’s surprising willingness to track Justify after hustling Noble Indy out of the gate, Repole said of his conversation with him: “He decided to call an audible, and that’s not the way we wanted the race run. I am baffled by the audible.”

  2. #2
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    CWD's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    welcome to horse racing

    sour grapes

  3. #3
    matrix1022's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    I would never have Castellano touch my horses yet ride his horse . My buddy Longo owns horses and was very successful before his family sold all . It’s a crazy business and crazy results all the time !!!

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    Clutchut12's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    Lebron is rubbing off on everyone these days, always have a fkin excuse for losing.

  5. #5
    Kike Anderson
    Kike Anderson's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    Quote Originally Posted by matrix1022 View Post
    I would never have Castellano touch my horses yet ride his horse . My buddy Longo owns horses and was very successful before his family sold all . It’s a crazy business and crazy results all the time !!!
    Why not? JJ is one of the best jockeys in the country, possibly the most talented. Mike Smith on the other hand is a true piece of shit.