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Did Justify’s stablemate help him win the Belmont?


© Brad Penner | USATSI

Justify became the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown on Saturday, but some in the horse racing industry are crying foul. On Sunday, Mike Repole, co-owner of Vino Rosso and Noble Indy, accused Florent Geroux, who rode Justify’s stablemate Restoring Hope, of blocking other horses to ensure Justify got the win.

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

Watch below as Restoring Hope (No. 5, Geroux in hot pink silks) takes the first turn very wide and zeroes in on Justify’s flank, arguably blocking Bravazo’s path. Restoring Hope stays right behind Justify until the final turn, where he quickly falls back to eighth:

“It baffled me,” Repole told the Daily Racing Forum. “I would have thought Baffert would have wanted Restoring Hope nowhere close to the pace. When Geroux broke next to last I would have thought that was a great scenario, he doesn’t have to worry about him. We watched him rush up like he was a Quarter Horse, make a quick right-hand turn, then turn left, pinned [Bravazo] on the rail. He looked like a bodyguard making sure nobody got close to Justify.”

John Velazquez, Vino Rosso’s jockey, also said he felt Geroux used Restoring Hope to protect Justify.

“Why would you send a horse that breaks bad and take everybody out, then come back in?” Velazquez, a Hall of Fame rider, said. “That’s his job, to protect the other horse and it worked for them. You have to give it to them.”

It’s worth noting that blocking isn’t illegal in horse racing; in fact, during a replay of the race, NBC Sports’ Randy Moss commented that Restoring Hope was “sort of running interference” to prevent Noble Indy from getting near Justify, but “that’s fine, it’s perfectly legal.”

So, did Geroux and Restoring Hope give Justify the assist? Or is this just sour grapes from some sore losers? I’m going with the latter.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

21 responses to “Did Justify’s stablemate help him win the Belmont?”

  1. Mathlete

    Happens all the time, this is just a rich guy crying because his horse lost.

  2. Bluebloodtoo

    NASCAR does it all the time. It’s accepted…

  3. Look Out Fireworks

    Oh Lawd!!

    Here comes the #NotMyTripleCrownWinner movement.

    1. cats646

      Ha!

  4. Booby Petrino

    Justify still had to actually run the race, so I say sour grapes. Just bc someone blocks for you doesn’t mean you’re gonna win.

  5. ukgrad83

    Total sour grapes. I’ll admit I don’t watch much horse racing but I didn’t see much in the way of blocking. Looked to me like the horse wanted to run and nobody else was going up to challenge the leader so he did. The “blocked horses” ended up finishing 4th (Vino Rosso), 6th (Bravazo), and 10th (Noble Indy), with the closest being almost 4 lengths back. Noble Indy is still running.. Go cry somewhere else you babies.

  6. runningunnin.454

    He’s a New York whiner.

  7. oruacat2

    Sour grapes. Bravazo especially had plenty of room to make a move on the inside and pass Justify if he wanted to try it, he just didn’t have the speed.

  8. Wilfred Smith

    Neigh…

    1. ukgrad83

      I see what you did there. Kudos!

  9. Jiminy Crickets

    Happens all the time. They are right, but to bitch about it is petty

  10. UKfanforlife

    It was a mile and half race with half the number of horses that were in the Kentucky Derby. If an owner/trainer/jockey wanted their horse up front, they had the same chance as the rest of them at the start of the race.

    Maybe they could get a special prosecutor named to find out why their horse lost. Gotta love those #Not my Triple Crown winner conspiracy theorists. They rule out, right away, that there can’t be a better horse that beat them. It just wasn’t possible.

  11. Mr. Cub

    Agree with everyone. It’s called race riding and it happens all of the time when there are multiple entries from a trainer and/or owner. No different than putting a rabbit in the field to run down a pacesetter and set up for a closer., Which is EXACTLY what Repole tried to do with Noble Indy for Vino Rosso!! He’s just pissed that his plan didn’t work because Noble Indy couldn’t sniff the lead.

  12. Sentient Third Eye

    I understand they are going to interview the other rider to judge his intent, but I’m not sure of the purpose. Is there even a rule against collusion? Maybe only if one horse is Russian? Seriously, if there’s no rule and no defined penalty, what can they do even if the jockey just says, “Of course I did it!”

  13. Headhurts

    Think horses that run in KY derby should have to run all 3 legs unless injured, like any other sport, hard to rally around a horse when the competition falls off because they don’t think they can win, that said…hats off to Justify.

  14. AdamN

    If it’s perfectly legal, wouldn’t this be similar to complaining the other team scored more points than you did, or they set too many screens, or their QB threw he ball too much? I’m confused.

  15. meeksfor3

    If you’re not first your last.

  16. jaws2

    “Shake and Bake!”

  17. UKrailbird

    All sour grapes. Restoring Hope was at least 4-wide going into the first turn. More than adequate space for other horses to get up with Justify. There was plenty of room the whole race for other horses to get to Justify and none had what it took.

  18. BPatte

    Total sour grapes. Justify won easily. As far as blocking Restoring Hope backed out of it at 3/4. Nothing got in the way of those other horses, they still had 1/2 the race to go when the so called blocker spit the bit out!

  19. bd2153

    Let the jock settle it ????