Tapwrit rallies to win Belmont Stakes

Rob Carr  Getty Images

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. His winning time for the 1 1/2 miles was 2 minutes, 30.02 seconds. (His name is, ironically, not derived from the missing eye.) So if the Belmont belonged to anybody, it was Pletcher, who had won the race twice before.

The colt finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness emulating five of the past nine Belmont winners who have followed that same path.

Having tracked Irish War Cry for much of the race, Jose Ortiz, winning his first Triple Crown race, angled out his mount to challenge in the straight, eventually pulling two lengths clear of the favourite.

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.

Irish War Cry's owner, De Tomaso Isabelle, paid $150,000 to breed the mare Irish Sovereign to Curlin, expecting blue- blood results and for the majority of the race it looked like he was going to notch one of racing's biggest prizes.

John Malone is chairman of Liberty Media Corp., whose holdings include Sirius XM radio and the Atlanta Braves. In addition, Classic Empire, who was expected to be the favorite in the Belmont, was pulled from consideration early in the week with a sore foot, while Epicharis, a Japan-based horse, was scratched Saturday morning due to the lingering effects of lameness. "We were hoping he had enough when it came to crunch time".

It lacked Always Dreaming and Preakness victor Cloud Computing.

The New York Racing Association said the exam revealed continued inflammation in the Japanese colt's right front hoof.

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Tapwrit, safely tucked away to Irish War Cry's outside, made his move and blew the doors off Irish War Cry.

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.

"At the eighth pole, I thought was might be home free", Motion said, "but it's the Belmont".

That's when Tapwrit took up the chase in earnest. Total handle for the card was $93.6 million, down 6.3 percent vs. the handle on a 13-race card previous year, according to the charts.

Gormley finished fourth, followed by Senior Investment, Twisted Tom, Lookin At Lee, Meantime, J Boys Echo and Multiplier. The on-call vet said Hollywood Handsome sustained a cut behind his left knee, and it would be closed with staples.

"It's an unbelievable feeling that I can't explain", Jose Ortiz said. "I nearly went down".

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