Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Tapwrit wins Belmont Stakes

With the absence of the winners of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown will have less appeal to the casual horse racing fan, and the withdrawal of the presumptive favorites Classic Empire and Epicharis will likely leave even the most seasoned bettors unsure of the right pick.

Neither Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming nor Preakness Stakes victor Cloud Computing participated in Saturday's race.

Tapwrit, the 5-1 second choice rallied down the stretch to pass the favorite, Irish War Cry, to win the 2017 Belmont Stakes (G1) by two lengths. Others in the field don't have the body of work yet to judge them as potential winners, but 3-year-old colts are still developing at this time of the year and can improve (and regress) radically from race to race.

"It actually wasn't our plan to be on the lead", said Irish War Cry trainer Graham Motion.

Pletcher took two of the year's three Triple Crown races.

Smith said, "That was for Holy Bull", who was euthanized at the age of 26 this week and whom Smith rode to victory in the Met Mile in 1994, less than three months before he put together the greatest Travers victory I've ever seen. "My horse is doing well". "We were hoping he had enough when it came crunch time". They are both trained by Todd Pletcher who has had success in the Belmont over the last decade.

So Irish War Cry, who struggled his way to 10th at the Kentucky Derby and took the Preakness off, entered the race as the favorite in a hollowed-out field. "I thought he ran a very game race".

"That's always an advantage", Pletcher said.

And in terms of double digit odds, Senior Investment was running hard until the end in the Preakness where he finished third gamely in from of top contender Lookin at Lee.

"A mile and a half is a long way to go, but in his previous races he has shown us some stamina", Lemaire said. Five of the last nine Belmont winners did just that.

Pletcher, who is set to run American Patriot in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot later this month, said afterwards, "Tapwrit was getting a attractive trip".

Drape: The Santa Anita Derby victor never got going in the Kentucky Derby.

"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.

Tapwrit placed sixth at the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness to get ready for the Belmont.

Japanese import Epicharis would win a $1 million bonus from the New York Racing Association if he triumphs.

It was the third Belmont victory for Pletcher, who lost by a nose with Destin a year ago.

Keep up with the race (or watch it live) with the TV channel and live stream info below.

The 149th running of the Belmont Stakes will begin tonight at 6:47 p.m. ET without the surrounding buzz of recent years.

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