Justify dominated the 150th Belmont Stakes today, becoming the 13th racehorse to win the Triple Crown.

Bob Baffert trained the last two winners, American Pharaoh in 2015 and Justify this year. After the race today, Baffert said he believes American Pharaoh was a better horse than Justify.

Unfortunately, a major problem with horse racing today is that there is so much money in stud fees that once a racehorse does something extraordinary he or she is quickly retired rather than risk a fatal injury. It is highly unlikely that Justify will race again after this year. That means there are no great showdowns such as the one in 1978 where Seattle Slew took on Affirmed.

Since horses have such short careers, you can't really compare Justify with horses such as Kelso, Seabisquit or Man O' War. What you can do is compare Justify to the other 12 Triple Crown winners - and by my standards, Justify just tied for the fifth best Triple Crown campaign in history.

First, I ranked the horses by the combined times in all three races.

1973 Secretariat, 6:16.4
1978 Affirmed, 6:22.4
1977 Seattle Slew, 6:26.2
2015 American Pharoah, 6:28.13
2017 Justify, 6:28.31
1943 Count Fleet, 6:29.6
1937 War Admiral, 6:30.2
1941 Whirlaway, 6:31.2
1935 Omaha, 6:34.0
1948 Citation, 6:36.0
1946 Assault, 6:38.8
1919 Sir Barton, 6:39.0*
1930 Gallant Fox, 6:39.8

Not surprisingly, times were getting better over the decades - until the 1980s. The 1970s was a decade of super horses and not just Secretariat. Considering that Alydar finished second to Affirmed by 1.5 lengths, a head and a nose, it is likely that Alydar would rank second or third on this list if his times were kept.

Then, I ranked the horses by the combined number of lengths by which they won the races.

1943 Count Fleet, 36
1973 Secretariat, 35.5
1948 Citation, 17
1941 Whirlaway, 16.5
1919 Sir Barton, 14
2017 Justify, 14
2015 American Pharoah, 13.5
1946 Assault, 11.25
1935 Omaha, 9
1977 Seattle Slew, 8.25
1930 Gallant Fox, 5.75
1937 War Admiral, 5
1978 Affirmed, 2

As mentioned above, Affirmed's dominance was lessened by Alydar. Secretariat had the huge Belmont win of 31 lengths, but in both the Derby and the Preakness he was pushed hard by Sham even while setting speed records.

Then I just looked at the times of each horse in each race to see how they would have finished.

Kentucky Derby

  1. Secretariat, 1:59.4
  2. Affirmed, 2:01.2
  3. Whirlaway, 2:01.4
  4. Seattle Slew, 2:02.2
  5. American Pharoah, 2:03.02
  6. War Admiral, 2:03.2
  7. Count Fleet, 2:04.0
  8. Justify, 2:04.2
  9. Omaha, 2:05.0
  10. Citation, 2:05.4
  11. Assault, 2:06.6
  12. Gallant Fox, 2:07.6
  13. Sir Barton, 2:09.8

Preakness Stakes

  1. Secretariat, 1:53.0
  2. Seattle Slew, 1:54.4
  3. Affirmed, 1:54.4
  4. Jusitfy, 1:55.93
  5. Count Fleet, 1:57.4
  6. Omaha, 1:58.4
  7. War Admiral, 1:58.4
  8. American Pharoah, 1:58.46
  9. Whirlaway, 1:58.8
  10. Sir Barton, 1:59.3
  11. Gallant Fox, 2:00.6
  12. Assault, 2:01.4
  13. Citation, 2:02.4

Belmont Stakes

  1. Secretariat, 2:24.0
  2. American Pharoah, 2:26.65
  3. Affirmed, 2:26.8
  4. Justify, 2:28.18
  5. Count Fleet, 2:28.2
  6. Citation, 2:28.2
  7. War Admiral, 2:28.6
  8. Seattle Slew, 2:29.6
  9. Sir Barton, 2:29.9
  10. Assault, 2:30.8
  11. Omaha, 2:30.6
  12. Whirlaway, 2:31.0
  13. Gallant Fox, 2:31.6

If you give the horses points ranked on 13 for best and one for worst, I rank Justify having just completed the fifth greatest Triple Crown campaign since it was created in 1919 by Sir Barton.

Rank, year, horse, total weighted points

1. Secretariat, 1973, 64 points out of a total of 65, still the standard all others are striving to beat.
2. Affirmed, 1978, 47 points
3. Count Fleet, 1943, 45.5 points (his scored was helped by winning the cumulative lengths ranking)
4. American Pharoah, 2015, 44
5. (tie) Seattle Slew, 1978, 43
5. (tie) Justify, 2018, 43
7. Whirlaway, 1941, 34
8. War Admiral, 1937, 31
9. Citation, 1948, 28.5
10. Omaha, 1935, 26
11. Sir Barton, 1919, 21
12. Assault, 1946, 18
13. Gallant Fox, 1930, 10