Losing owner calls for investigation into tactics used in Belmont Stakes

Mike Repole, co-owner of horses that finished fourth and last in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, told the New York Post on Sunday he hopes stewards will look into the tactics used by the jockey for the "other" horse trained by Bob Baffert.

Repole questioned Florent Geroux's ride on Restoring Hope, a stablemate of Belmont winner and 13th Triple Crown champion Justify, who is trained by Baffert for owner Gary West.

While saying Justify was the deserving winner, Repole told reporter Tom Pedula he felt like Restoring Hope, a 37-1 shot, ran interference for Justify against other horses in the race. (Restoring Hope ran out of the 5th post while Justify was in the 1st post.)

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

Repole owns fourth-place finisher Vino Rosso with fellow New Yorker Vinnie Viola. After winning the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Vino Rosso ran ninth on a sloppy track in the Kentucky Derby.

Repole also co-owns 10th-place finisher Noble Indy with WinStar Farm, the majority owner of Justify. Both Vino Rosso and Noble Indy are trained by Todd Pletcher.



Restoring Hope finished eighth in the Belmont.

Meanwhile, Justify appeared in good shape Sunday morning after his victory in the mile-and-a-half race. Owned by WinStar, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and SF Bloodstock, Justify is scheduled to ship Monday to Louisville, where he will stay at Churchill Downs for the next week or so.

WinStar CEO and President Elliott Walden indicated Sunday that the plan is to race Justify through the rest of the year, though his next start has not yet been determined.




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