Tapwrit rallies in stretch to win Belmont Stakes

Judith Bessette
Junho 20, 2017

Kentucky Derby winning trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle two horse in the Belmont, but Tapwrit is the one I expect to run well. Five of the past nine Belmont winners did that.

This year's Belmont lacks some of the top three-year-olds in the country, but it should still come out a competitive race.

Irish War Cry and Meantime set the pace for much of the race. Tapwrit's stablemate, Patch, came in a distant third. He also finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby and also had a dud in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth when he finished seventh.

J Boys Echo is one of five Belmont runners who skipped the Preakness after running in the Derby, a route taken previous year by Belmont victor Creator.

"I was a lot more disappointed after the Derby, because I know what the horse is capable of, and [he] didn't show it on Derby day", Maragh said.

Someone had to win the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes, and as the field of 11 mostly maligned horses edged into the starting gate, the odds board was a patchwork of indecision with no clear favorites and few bettors backing up their convictions with cold hard cash. Irish War Cry paid $4.70 for second and completed the $2 exacta of $45.20.

It is Pletcher's third victory in the race and his second of the Triple Crown this season, after winning the Derby with Always Dreaming.

"The [Kentucky] Derby win was awesome, and the ebbs and flows of this game are well-documented". We felt like both horses suited the mile and a half distance. We were fortunate it all fell into place.

The 23-year-old native of Puerto Rico saw his horse respond.

Analyzing the Race May 3, 2017; Louisville, KY, USA; Kentucky Derby hopeful Irish War Cry exercises during morning workouts at Churchill Downs.

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Meanwhile, Bridlewood Farm and Eclipse Thoroughbred's Tapwrit, a $1.2 million purchase, was training at his Belmont Park home base from Pletcher's shed row.

It lacked Always Dreaming and Preakness victor Cloud Computing. Early favorite Classic Empire had to withdraw because of injury, and then Japanese wild card Epicharis was scratched Saturday morning because of injury as well. Epicharis wasn't ready to run the 1½-mile race three days after the colt was treated for lameness in his hoof.

He took the colt to the outside and stayed on with no chance to get back in contention.

"Tapwrit was getting a handsome trip", Pletcher told reporters. Hagiwara added, "The horse was close to being able to compete, but we ran out of time".

Irish War Cry and Meantime were in front for the first half of the race before Tapwrit made a move past Meantime.

Tapwrit, meanwhile, settled in third, right behind the dueling leaders.

By midway through the final turn, anyone who wasn't wishing they had bet a bundle on the 7-2 favorite should have been.

It took a while for Tapwrit to find his best gear. "I think you just have to have a little more horse, and hopefully we're taking the right one up there". It's a tough race. Besides last year's race, he finished sixth aboard Samraat in 2014. "I nearly went down and I lost my stirrup".

It was a special moment in the career of Puerto Rican rider Jose Ortiz, too, and with his first victory he followed up the success of his brother, Irad, who won the US Classic 12 months ago aboard Creator.

Cloud Computing skipped the Derby, won the Preakness and is sitting out the Belmont.

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