Tapwrit wins Belmont Stakes, rallying past Irish War Cry

Irish War Cry's lead was not almost as large, and then came the final 1,097 feet, a stretch of track that has ruined Triple Crown hopes and forced many a runner into retirement.

Tapwrit captured his first victory since winning the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby on March 11 at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar.

Tapwrit was given a ground-saving ride on the rail in third by Ortiz, and it made the difference in the final 150 metres as Tapwrit went on to give sire Tapit a third Belmont win in four years. Another of his horses, Always Dreaming, took the Kentucky Derby in May but didn't race Saturday in the 1-1/2 mile event.

Jose Ortiz was riding his first victor of the big race as Tapwrit outlasted Irish War Cry, who finished second two lengths behind.

The one-eyed Patch (12/1) finished a distant third in the 11-horse field at Belmont Park.

"When you get beaten as one of the favorites in the Derby, it's pretty discouraging and you just want to put it behind you", Motion told The Associated Press ahead the event.

Japanese colt Epicharis, the early 4-1 second choice, was scratched on Saturday morning after failing a pre-race veterinary exam after being treated for a hoof problem earlier in the week. "I always liked him and had a lot of faith in him".

Total handle on the 11-horse race at Belmont Park, including all horizontal wagers ending in the Belmont Stakes, was $47.5 million, down from $52.2 million on a 13-horse field a year ago, according to the charts. We felt that he'd done everything right on the horse and he deserved to stay with him.

"That's always an advantage", Pletcher said. "It was everything we talked about in the paddock before the race".

Check back after the race to see which horse won the 2017 Belmont Stakes. We were hoping he had enough when it came to crunch time. "It looked like Irish War Cry had a little something left, but the last sixteenth, he dug down deep", said Pletcher.

Tapwrit capitalised on the absence of both the Kentucky Derby (2000m) and Preakness Stakes (1900m) winners to land the final leg of America's coveted three-year-old Triple Crown, the Group 1 Belmont Stakes (2400m), on Sunday. He paid a handsome $12.60 for a $2 bet, and rewarded his owners, a partnership of Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred and Robert LaPenta, a first-place check worth $800,000. It was a two-horse race to the finish line, with Tapwrit gaining the lead in the final furlong. Ridden by jockey Jose Ortiz, Tapwrit completed the 1½-mile route over a fast track to edge out favorite Irish War Cry by two lengths.

"The distance, I was sure he could handle", Ortiz said.

This year's Belmont Stakes also featured betting in Japan, in a non-comingled pool.

  • Julie Sanders