Tapwrit wins Belmont Stakes

Jun 25, 2017, 01:12
Tapwrit wins Belmont Stakes

On Saturday, the loyalty on both sides paid off as Ortiz guided Tapwrit to a two-length victory over Irish War Cry in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. His winning time for the 1 1/2 miles was 2 minutes, 30.02 seconds. His brother Irad captured last year's Belmont Stakes aboard Creator.

Given there was no Triple Crown at stake this year and that the winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing respectively, were absent, there was a sense this year's Belmont Stakes may not have lived up to the hype. Five of the last nine Belmont winners followed that same path. 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.

Irish War Cry made the lead, set some energy conserving fractions, which basically took the late-running closers out of the race.

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. Irish War Cry, who pressed the early pace at Churchill Downs on May 6 and ran 10th in the Derby, nearly went wire-to-wire in the Belmont with jockey Rajiv Maragh in the irons.

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"We felt like with the five weeks in between, and with the way this horse had trained, that he had a legitimate chance", trainer Todd Pletcher said after the race, according to the Associated Press. "We were hoping he had enough when it came crunch time. It looked like Irish War Cry still had a little something left, but the last sixteenth, he dug down deep". Last year's leading two-year-old Classic Empire was also ruled out a few days before the New York Classic, whilst Japanese-trained Epicharis also joined the ranks of absentees on the morning of the race. He said he felt good about his horse going into the post, and that his horse ran the race accordingly.

Completing the order of finish were Senior Investment, Twisted Tom, Looking At Lee-the only horse to have competed in all three legs of racing's Triple Crown this year-Meantime, J Boys Echo, Multiplier, and Hollywood Handsome, who was eased.

"Each of these races individually stand on their own as major, major races and huge wins", Pletcher said.

Tapwrit finished sixth in the 20-horse Derby after encountering traffic in what Pletcher described as "a sneaky good" race.

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Patch ran a big race finishing third overtaking a tiring Gormley in the stretch. As the Wood Memorial victor separated himself from the field, Ortiz encouraged Tapwrit and the pair went after Irish War Cry.

"I knew he didn't like the track", Ortiz said.

Tapwrit, despite his lofty price tag, has been a work in progress since he finished at the back of the pack in a forgettable debut last September 3 at Saratoga Race Course. "I nearly went down and I lost my stirrup". The winning jockey, Jose Ortiz, is perennially at the top of the New York Racing Association's rider standings.

It was a thrilling showdown in NY amid concerns the race wouldn't live up to expectations after some key withdrawals, with Classic Empire and Epicharis pulling out of contention prior to Saturday's contest.

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Tapwrit, trained by New York-based Todd Pletcher and a son of the great sire Tapit, was bred for the distance, something that was obvious to every person watching at Belmont and to the millions watching on TV.

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