The victor, Tapwrit, may have done most of his racing in Florida, but he lives here. As they approached the wire there was no doubt that this highly touted progeny of Tapit, who was purchased for $1,200,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton sale in Saratoga, had finally lived up to his potential.
Secretariat is one of the few horses who went into the Belmont looking strong, and then got stronger with every stride, to the point where the other horses weren't in the TV picture.
Pletcher's Triple Crown dreams became unglued when Always Dreaming flopped in the Preakness only two weeks after his Derby triumph.
The 3-year-olds are taking on 1½ miles, one lap around the giant oval known as "Big Sandy", with a stretch run that would tire Usain Bolt.
The win by Tapwrit also capped off a fantastic Triple Crown season for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Todd Pletcher's Tapwrit took the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. on Saturday. As the Wood Memorial victor separated himself from the field, Ortiz encouraged Tapwrit and the pair went after Irish War Cry.
"Winning the Triple Crown is my ultimate dream, but he was training so well I got anxious about what we were going to do with Tapwrit", he said. "This is home. It's extra special". "We got exactly the position that we had talked about with Jose prior to the race". Despite his current favorite status, Irish War Cry has only three wins in 11 races, and he had a poor showing at the Kentucky Derby, finishing 10th after leading the pack with 9-to-2 odds. Many were questioning which Irish War Cry showed up for the Belmont.
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Philadelphia went 28-54 this past season, after winning 19, 18 and 10 games in the previous three. I wake up every morning and get ready to go to the gym.
Irish War Cry's trainer Graham Motion entered the race after his colt's disappointing 10th-place finish in last month's Kentucky Derby. With those two, Pletcher finished first and third on Saturday.
"This is our home base", Pletcher said. "It's a feeling I can't explain right now".
It is a tribute similar to the blanket or roses, and black-eyed Susans awarded to the victor of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness respectively.
"The horse was close to being able to compete but we ran out of time". I think that's every trainers ultimate dream. At that point, it was up to Tapwrit and Gormley to take a shot at the New Jersey-bred on the lead.
As Mor Spirit crossed the finish line, track announcer Larry Collmus bellowed, "Bob Baffert and Mike Smith are un-". Baffert knows the power of the Triple Crown: he trained American Pharoah in 2015.
But Pletcher isn't going anywhere.
With just hours left until the race on Saturday, Epicharis had been listed at the second-best odds at 7-2.
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