Published: Sat, June 17, 2017
Sports | By Mabel Barber

Tapwrit wins 149th Belmont Stakes

Neither Always Dreaming nor the 2017 Preakness victor Cloud Computing were in the field for Saturday's Belmont Stakes, the mile-and-a-half race proven to be the toughest Triple Crown event, and one of the most grueling in the sport.

The win became his trainer's third victor of the race after Rags To Riches (2007) and Palace Malice (2012).

No horse won the Triple Crown this year, but it's a triple of sorts for trainer Todd Pletcher.

"But the one thing that I think he suits our style of training and he suits Tapwrit is he's a pretty aggressive rider".

Just over a year later, he made his career racing debut across the street at Saratoga Race Course and promptly got blasted, finishing in last place in a 10-horse field. It was a long way back to 'TDN Rising Star' Patch (Union Rags) in 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. Ortiz's brother Irad won the race past year with Creator.

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

Tapwrit returned $12.60, $6.50 and $5 across the board for a $2 bet. Irish War Cry entered as the 3/1 favorite for the Belmont. Irish War Cry became the morning-line favorite (7-2) for the 149th running of the race.

Derby win was awesome, and the ebbs and flows of this game are well-documented.

Pletcher is quietly building his Triple Crown race resume, which now is up to five wins for a trainer who will turn 50 in less than three weeks. "We're fortunate it fell into place".

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John Malone is chairman of Liberty Media Corp., whose holdings include Sirius XM radio and the Atlanta Braves.

Tapwrit's connections picked up $800,000 in prize money out of the $1.5 million purse. Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby. Classic Empire, the expected favourite, dropped out on Wednesday with a foot abscess. The already thin group of remaining horses lost another one of its favorites when Japan-based Epicharis failed the pre-race veterinary exam.

"Tapwrit was getting a lovely trail and it was everything that we'd talked about before the race. A mile and a half is a long way to go, but in his previous races he has shown us some stamina". We kind of hoped that somebody else would go for it, but he had to go to Plan B and [jockey] Rajiv [Maragh] did a great job.

"That last sixteenth (of a mile) Tapwrit really dug down deep", Pletcher said.

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

It took a while for Tapwrit to find his best gear. Many were questioning which Irish War Cry showed up for the Belmont. "I knew I had him when I passed the eighth pole".

That's when Tapwrit took up the chase in earnest.

While there was no Triple Crown chance this year, the series delivered three quality races with exciting finishes to each.

Gormley finished fourth, Senior Investment fifth and Twisted Tom sixth. With little control over his mount, Geroux smartly angled the horse to the outside of the field and Hollywood Handsome continued to run, getting as close as third before tiring and allowing Geroux to ease him out of the race.

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