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Tapwrit triumphs in Belmont Stakes

Tapwrit triumphs in Belmont Stakes

"The two-week turnaround from the Derby to the Preakness is a really short time for a horse but a pretty long time for a horse trainer", Pletcher said. This is his third Belmont Stakes victory; he also won with Rags to Riches in 2007 and Palace Malice in 2013.

"We felt like with five weeks in between, and with the way this horse has trained, that he had a legitimate chance", trainer Todd Pletcher said of Tapwrit, who covered the 1 ½ miles in 2:30.02 and paid $12.60 to win. The win brings the Tampa Bay Derby winner's total earnings to $1,143,902. Win, place, and show betting was down 6.7 percent; handle in the exacta pool was down 13.6 percent; the trifecta, 12.8 percent; and the superfecta, 11.3 percent.

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

Tapwrit overtook favorite Irish War Cry deep in the stretch to win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Elmont, N.Y.

"Tapwrit was getting a attractive trip", Pletcher told reporters.

"Tapwrit was getting a handsome trail and it was everything that we'd talked about before the race". We kind of hoped that somebody else would go for it, but he had to go to Plan B and [jockey] Rajiv [Maragh] did a great job.

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Jose Ortiz stalked the frontrunner, then caught Irish War Cry on the front stretch.

It was a home win for Pletcher, who is based at Belmont Park in NY, and with his third victor of the race he became the first trainer to claim the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes with two different horses since D Wayne Lukas in 1996.

Yes, he was thrilled at the prospect of aiming for a Triple Crown with convincing Derby victor Always Dreaming. Ortiz's brother Irad won the race a year ago with Creator.

Last year, Jose was on the back of Forever d'Oro and came in 13th.

"I'm hoping for a good result because he's getting good support from Japan, the horsemen, and the other connections, so I'm sure that Japan is hoping for a good result", he said. "You very seldomly just get to enjoy a win and not have a target right around the corner. I'm happy for the owners and for Todd [Pletcher] for giving me the opportunity".

Irish War Cry was 10th after pressing the early pace in the May 6 race. He showed up and took the Wood by over three lengths.

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With neither Always Dreaming nor Preakness victor Cloud Computing in the line-up, the so-called "Test of a Champion" looked distinctly lacking in champions beforehand - a situation hardly eased when last year's leading two-year-old Classic Empire was ruled out with a foot abscess a few days before the New York Classic.

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.

This year, the classic race's field seemed to open wide.

Coming up in third behind Irish War Cry was another horse trained by Pletcher: Patch, the one-eyed horse who lost his left eye due to an infection.

Tapwrit, meanwhile, settled in third, right behind the dueling leaders. Gormley finished fourth and completed the $2 superfecta of $4,486.

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