A private aviation company has signed on to be the exclusive sponsor of racehorse Justify during its run for the horse racing's Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. "I just feel that, I think most importantly, the horse is doing well".
Just when it looked as though Justify didn't require any help in his hunt for the Triple Crown, trainer Bob Baffert received it on Tuesday as his star was drawn at the rail ahead of Saturday's big crescendo.
Nine horses are set to line up against Justify, including five he beat in the Derby and two he beat in the Preakness. The rest of the field is 12-1 or longer. "Once you become part of the Wheels Up family, the magic happens-everyone saw that three years ago when Wheels Up sponsored American Pharoah and he won the Triple Crown at Belmont".
The D Wayne Lukas-trained Bravazo, who finished a half-length behind Justify at the Preakness, will break from the third post while John Velazquez, a two-times Belmont Stakes victor, will be aboard Vino Rosso in the eighth post.
Justify, who is undefeated in five outings, had been regarded as a freakish talent but an untested one until he ended a 136-year-old hoodoo at the Kentucky Derby on 5 May with his fourth win in as many tries, running from the No7 post on a sloppy track and becoming the first horse to win the famed race at Churchill Downs having not raced as a two-year-old since 1882.
Bravazo also has a favourable draw at No. 3 and will be hopeful of posing a challenge on the top spot.
Justify is scheduled to arrive at Belmont Park on Wednesday afternoon after traveling on a special transport plane from Louisville International Airport to Long Island's MacArthur Airport in the morning. The last was with victor American Pharoah, making Wheels Up undefeated in Triple Crown sponsorship and putting everything on the line with Justify.
Back in 2003, Juddmonte's Empire Maker took home the race, spoiling the Triple Crown aspirations of Funny Cide, who finished in third. None of the other Triple Crown winners defeated more than seven challengers in the Belmont.
The 150th Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 9 in Elmont, N.Y. The race is held at Belmont Park with a post time of 6:37 p.m. ET.