losangelesnewstoday.com May 21, 2018

Tapwrit wins, Patch takes third

13 June 2017, 10:57 | Stacy Ballard

This date in history

Assistant trainer Masaaki Minamida leads Epicharis from his barn after it was announced that the horse was scratched from the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race Saturday

Tapwrit won the Belmont Stakes ahead of 3-1 favourite Irish War Cry in the final leg of the US Triple Crown.

The winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness - Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing, respectively - were not in the field.

Tapwrit came out of the 2nd spot, chased the leaders close, and ultimately passed Irish War Cry down the front stretch to win the 2017 Belmont Stakes by 2 lengths. It's a bit longer than both the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby, adding an element of anything can happen. "I'm happy for the owners and for Todd [Pletcher] for giving me the opportunity". Stamping himself as a Triple Crown contender after powerfully annexing the GII Tampa Bay Derby Mar. 11, the $1.2 million Fasig-Tipton August buy was a tiresome fifth in the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. and ran sixth with traffic trouble in the GI Kentucky Derby May 6. On Saturday morning, the field was whittled to 11 when Japanese horse Epicharis failed his veterinary exam.

Total handle on the 13-race Belmont Park card Saturday fared a bit better than the Belmont Stakes itself, with strong wagering on the two races preceding the Belmont Stakes and the two races after it.

The colt was the 4-1 second choice for the $1.5 million race.

"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.

"It's a classic and, if he's doing well, I think it's a shame if he's sitting in the barn". "A mile and a half is a long way to go, but in his previous races he has shown us some stamina".

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Tapwrit returned $12.60, $6.50 and $5 across the board for a $2 bet. The winning trainer, Todd Pletcher, is the undisputed king of racing in NY - and beyond, at the moment - and Tapwrit became his third Belmont Stakes victor, joining Rags to Riches and Palace Malice.

It was also extra special for 23-year-old jockey Jose Ortiz, who recorded his first Triple Crown win.

"Tapwrit was getting a lovely trip", Pletcher said. He was among the favorites in the Kentucky Derby, but faded in the final furlongs to cede his position to Always Dreaming.

"We felt like with the five weeks in between, and with the way this horse had trained, that he had a legitimate chance", said Pletcher, who is based at Belmont Park.

There was a time, not that long ago, when thoroughbred racing started and ended in NY, or at least that's what most East Coast race fans, trainers and owners thought.

Pletcher is also the trainer for Patch, who finished third Saturday.

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