Tapwrit wins Belmont Stakes

Most of his rivals were in trouble as they turned for home but Tapwrit, with jockey Jose Ortiz at the helm, emerged from just off the pace with a strong challenge.

The jockey's older brother, Irad Jr., was in the race as well, on the back of Lookin At Lee.

With all hopes of a Triple Crown success extinguished for this year, the final leg of the Belmont Stakes was notable for those horses who were missing, which included Always Dreaming and the Preakness Stakes victor, Cloud Computing. Five of the last nine Belmont winners did just that.

Tapwrit returned $12.60 to his backers for the win, $6.50 to place and $5 for show.

Irish War Cry made the lead, set some energy conserving fractions, which basically took the late-running closers out of the race. The Belmont was a bit of payback against Irish War Cry, since that colt crashed into Tapwrit coming out of the starting gate in the Derby and compromised his chance to win.

Irish War Cry got a good start and stayed at or near the lead for most of the race, with Meantime, Tapwrit, and Gormley chasing nearby.

But five other Southern California horses, four of those trained by Baffert, won races on the undercard. "We were hoping he had enough when it came crunch time".

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. He was the second choice in the morning line at 4-1.

Tapwrit (seen here preparing for the Kentucky Derby) covered the mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes course in 2:30:02.

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Tapqwrit is owned in partnesrhip by John and Leslie Malone, who race as Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta, who won the 2008 Belmont when 70-1 shot Da'Tara spoiled Big Brown's Triple Crown bid. They want to be in a tactical position. "We kind of hoped that somebody else would go for it, but he had to go to Plan B". Baffert knows the power of the Triple Crown: he trained American Pharoah in 2015.

Pletcher's belief in Tapwrit took hold in the past month.

Monmouth Park's $1 million, Grade 1 Betfair Haskell Invitational at a mile and a furlong on July 31 looms as a high dollar possible for both Tapwrit and Irish War Cry.

I always liked him, and we always had a lot of faith in him.

Tapwrit, despite his lofty price tag, has been a work in progress since he finished at the back of the pack in a forgettable debut last September 3 at Saratoga Race Course.

Epicharis, thought to have a big shot to give Japan its first Belmont victor, was scratched the morning of the race when a veterinary exam revealed continued inflammation in his right front foot.

"This was a minor issue, but the team has done a great job to care for the horse over the past few days and, while we are greatly disappointed for the fans of Epicharis, we have to face the fact that he is not able to compete today", said Kiyoshi Hagiwara, Epichararis' trainer, via Japan Racing Association translator Soshi Inoue.

Tapwrit, left, and Irish War Cry race to the finish during the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 10, 2017, in Elmont, N.Y. Tapwrit won the race.

It's more than good after he earned his third Belmont Stakes victory.

  • Lawrence Cooper