Tapwrit rallies in stretch to win Belmont Stakes

Tapwrit rallies in stretch to win Belmont Stakes

Then came a sixth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby. Five of the past nine Belmont winners did just that.

Tapwrit had finished strongly in wet conditions at the Derby and proved well suited for the longer distance at the Belmont. "We felt like with the five weeks in between, and with the way this horse had trained, that we had a legitimate chance".

"It's our home base so it's always an advantage", Pletcher acknowledged. Gormley finished fourth and completed the $2 superfecta of $4,486.

He was looking like Gen. George Patton after 6 furlongs, and still in control at a mile, timed in 1:38.95, which was more than four seconds slower than the late, great Secretariat ran in 1973.

Sent off as the 5-1 second choice in the field of 11, Tapwrit returned $12.60 for a $2 win bet. Irish War Cry paid $4.70 to place and $3.90 for third. Tapwrit's stablemate, Patch, came in a distant third.

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Pletcher took two of the year's three Triple Crown races. The win brings the Tampa Bay Derby winner's total earnings to $1,143,902. "My horse is doing well". They had the right running styles and the right dispositions and the right pedigrees.

Last year's 3-year-old champion, Arrogate, is now the best horse in the world and his first graded stake was in last year's Travers, so anything can happen as we head into the summer months.

Tapwrit wins the 149th Belmont Stakes, 6/10/17.

John Malone is chairman of Liberty Media Corp., whose holdings include Sirius XM radio and the Atlanta Braves. Classic Empire, expected to be the favorite, had to be scratched earlier in the week due to a recurrence of an abscess in his right front hoof.

Pletcher described Tapwrit's run as a "beautiful trip". "We got exactly the position that we had talked about with Jose prior to the race".

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There was a freshness about Tapwrit as he motored to the head of the field at Belmont, steadily chopping down the gap to Irish War Cry.

But the time was good enough to put away a talented Irish War Cry, who led most of the way after being pressed early by Mike Smith aboard Meantime.

Running in first from the start, Irish War Cry seemed to have a shot at holding onto his front-runner status through the race's finish. Many were questioning which Irish War Cry showed up for the Belmont.

"At the eighth pole, I thought was might be home free", Motion said, "but it's the Belmont. It's a tough race". He guided the colt to the outside until he could be stopped. "I nearly went down and I lost my stirrup".

But Pletcher had a victor anyway - his third in the 1.5-mile "Test of the Champion". Tapwrit also became the first horse to win the race from the second post since 1994, according to ESPN. Ultimately, it was the patience of Tapwrit that gave him and jockey Jose Ortiz the victory. But Jose Ortiz went to the whip and pushed Tapwrit hard.

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