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Triple Crown winner Justify honored at Churchill Downs

Triple Crown champion Justify, led by exercise rider

Triple Crown champion Justify, led by exercise rider Humberto Gomez, left, and groom Eduardo Luna, second from left is the center of attention in the paddock at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Saturday. Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, third from left, and Churchill Downs stall superintendent Steve Hargrave, right, accompany the group. Credit: AP / Garry Jones

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Triple Crown winner Justify was calm while posing for thousands of fans who cheered and took pictures of horse racing’s newest superstar in 90-degree heat at Churchill Downs.

A week after becoming the second Triple Crown champion in four years and 13th overall, the unbeaten chestnut colt received rock star treatment Saturday night.

One fan yelled, “You won me a lot of money!” as Justify strode through the paddock after walking from the backside barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert toward the front stretch.

Baffert received his fifth engraved trophy for winning the Kentucky Derby with Justify on May 5 and said of the Triple Crown, “I still can’t believe we did it.”

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and Justify’s breeders and ownership group also got trophies for his 2 1/2-length Derby victory in a ceremony that included the new 3-foot Triple Crown trophy.

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