Tapwrit rallies to win Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes up for grabs

Tapwrit's victory in the third leg of the triple crown came after the colt finished sixth at the Kentucky Derby and then skipped the Preakness. Going into the Kentucky Derby, he was nearly even with favorite Always Dreaming among bettors but finished a disappointing 10th.

Patch took third in the Belmont after being 14th in the Derby.

In a sport where history tends to repeat itself, a Pletcher horse got another dream trip, just as he did in Louisville with Always Dreaming on the First Saturday in May.

At the start of the mile and a half classic, Irish War Cry was immediately sent to the lead, where he would stay for nearly the entire race.

"The last five weeks have been the ultimate roller coaster", Pletcher said, per Beth Harris of the Associated Press (h/t the Washington Post).

Avello also mentioned No. 7 Irish War Cry, the 7-2 favorite, and No. 12 Patch (15-1).

This was the 142nd running of the Preakness.

Irish War Cry led for the majority of the race but faltered down the home stretch.

Belmont Park on Long Island and Saratoga in upstate NY were believed to be where all the champions trained and raced.

"Tapwrit was getting a attractive trip", said Pletcher.

"It was everything that we had talked about", Pletcher said. "It looked like Irish War Cry still had a little something left, but in the last sixteenth, he dug down deep".

For the winning jockey, the Belmont win evened the score with his brother and fellow rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., who won last year's Belmont with Creator. He showed no signs of fatigue as jockey Jose Ortiz charged with him past Irish War Cry on the outside and through the finish line for the victory. "It's a feeling I can't explain right now".

"For me as a bettor, I can never give who I'm going to play without seeing the odds".

Smith said, "That was for Holy Bull", who was euthanized at the age of 26 this week and whom Smith rode to victory in the Met Mile in 1994, less than three months before he put together the greatest Travers victory I've ever seen.

"Winning the Triple Crown is my ultimate dream, but he was training so well I got anxious about what we were going to do with Tapwrit", he said. "Today he showed up".

There's no Triple Crown up for grabs this year - for winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in the same season - but the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes represents a significant prize in its own right. Ironically, 10 years ago in the Belmont, Curlin was caught in deep stretch by Pletcher's first Belmont victor, the filly Rags to Riches. Graham Motion said the plan wasn't for the son of Curlin to have the lead, but the trainer was not unhappy with the trip or performance by his colt.

"At the eighth pole, I thought was might be home free", Motion said, "but it's the Belmont". It's a tough race. "So if he can stay, it's really his race to lose, I believe". Yes, it's very vindicating - for the horse and for me and the owners and everyone.

"It's a classic and, if he's doing well, I think it's a shame if he's sitting in the barn". He's good at getting horses in position.

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