Former Dallas Cowboy running back Emmitt Smith is in the hall of fame. He broke many records while carrying the ball for America’s Team, but he wouldn’t have come close to those records without the help of his fullback, Daryl Johnston.
Johnston, one of the NFL’s best fullbacks, plowed into defenders and made room for Smith to run.
Restoring Hope is the Daryl Johnston of the Belmont Stakes.
Though Justify won the Belmont Stakes Saturday, becoming only the 13th horse to ever win the Triple Crown after previously winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
You see, Restoring Hope was 37-1. Justify was the odd-on favorite to win. Both horses are trained by the same person, Bob Baffert, whose colored sunglasses and white hair, as well as his success, make him stand out in the world of horse racing.
He is being accused of using Restoring Hope like a Daryl Johnston.
Here’s what happened.
At the beginning of the race, Justify broke out in front at the rail, while Restoring Hope was on the outside in turn one near the front. He then came back to the pack and settled behind Justify in second place.
Mike Repole, owner of fourth-place finisher Vino Rosso and 10th-place finisher Noble Indy questioned why Restoring Hope was near the front of the pack.
“We watched him rush up like he was a quarter horse, make a quick right-hand turn, then turn left and pinned (Bravazo) on the rail,” Repole said in an interview after the race. “He looked like a bodyguard making sure nobody got close to Justify.”
Vino Rosso’s jockey, John Velazquez, saw it all.
“That’s his job, to protect the other horse, and it worked for them. You have to give it to them.”
I am no horse racing expert, but even I said to my wife as we watched the start of the race, “He’s going up there to run interference for Justify.” Now if I saw it, it must have been very blatant.
This can’t be an uncommon occurrence. I would imagine it happens all the time. So what is the big hoopla? They aren’t going to take away a Triple Crown.
Or change a result for all those who bet on the race.
Or go against one of the best trainers ever.
And it isn’t really breaking any rule. Maybe one of those “unwritten” rules.
Ironically, the Belmont runner-up horse was Gronkowski, who is named for New England Patriots tight end and part owner Rob Gronkowski.
Next year during the Triple Crown races, they need a horse out there named Butkus, you know, to even things out.