June 9 (Reuters) - Justify won the Belmont Stakes in New York on Saturday to claim U.S. thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, becoming just the second horse to achieve the feat since 1978 and the 13th overall.
The favored three-year-old chestnut colt was barely pushed as he completed the 1-1/2 mile (12-furlong) course in a wire-to-wire win in overcast but dry conditions at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
The victory marks the second Triple Crown win for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who also won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes with American Pharoah in 2015.
The large and muscular Justify, owned by China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing & WinStar Farm, was ridden to victory by veteran jockey Mike Smith.
At 52, Smith is the oldest jockey to ever win the Triple Crown.
Saturday's race, the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, marked the fifth time Baffert came to Belmont with a shot at the Triple Crown. (Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Clare Fallon)