Tapwrit beats Irish War Cry to win Belmont Stakes

Hazel Gray
June 13, 2017

Todd Pletcher-trained Tapwrit took the lead from Irish War Cry on the final straight and won the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York on Saturday.

Tapwrit returned $12.60, $6.50 and $5 for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won two legs of the Triple Crown following his victory with Always Dreaming in the Derby.

Neither the victor of the Kentucky Derby (Always Dreaming) nor the victor of the Preakness Stakes (Cloud Computing) was in the field.

Hopes of a horse from Japan winning the Belmont Stakes for the first time in the race's 149-year history were dashed when veterinarians scratched Epicharis on Saturday morning because of continued inflammation in his right front foot.

It was a thrilling showdown in NY amid concerns the race wouldn't live up to expectations after some key withdrawals, with Classic Empire and Epicharis pulling out of contention prior to Saturday's contest. Up front, Irish War Cry put away Meantime and appeared a likely victor at the top of Belmont's long stretch.

Classic Empire was fourth, Practical Joke fifth, Tapwrit sixth, Gunnevera seventh, McCraken eighth, Gormley ninth and Irish War Cry 10th.

"Unbelievable", Ortiz said after the race.

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Unsurprisingly, Always Dreaming is the clear favorite for the Preakness. Only 12 horses have completed the Triple Crown at Belmont - the last, and first for 37 years, was American Pharoah in 2015 while California Chrome was the last to be denied in 2014.

The Triple Crown includes the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The problem is that there's no value in taking him as his odds continue to drop the closer we get to Saturday's 6:37PM ET post time. "Right now they're very comfortable that the horse is comfortable and much better than he was two days ago".

"He's a nice horse to ride because you can use any tactics", said Christophe Lemaire, his French jockey.

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

"That's always an advantage", Pletcher said. Taking third, almost six lengths adrift of the runner-up, was the winner's stablemate Patch.

Running in - and winning - all three US Classics in the space of five weeks is a demanding task.

Meanwhile, a standard pre-race examination of Carrot Farm's Japanese stakes victor Epicharis Saturday morning by NYRA's Chief Examining Veterinarian Anthony Verderosa, DVM, revealed continued inflammation in the horse's right front.

Other reports by VgToday

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