Tapwrit Runs Down Irish War Cry to Win Belmont Stakes

Trainer Todd Pletcher won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes this year with two different horses.. (Photo credit: Churchill Downs).

Trainer Todd Pletcher added his third victory in the third jewel of the Triple Crown, with Tapwrit running down favorite Irish War Cry in the stretch to win the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1).

It was the ninth time in the last 18 years the Belmont Stakes winner ran in the Run for the Roses, skipped the Preakness Stakes (G1) and won the Belmont.

Under jockey Jose Ortiz, Tapwrit tracked the early pace while sitting third while Irish War Cry was setting the early fractions.

Ortiz made his move and took over the lad with about 100 yards to go, edging clear to win by two lengths and returning his backers $12.60.

The colt stopped the timer for the 1 ½ miles in 2:30.02 and earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling that I can’t explain,” said Ortiz. “The distance, I was sure he could handle it. It was a great training job by Todd. I always liked him and we always had a lot of faith in him. Today he showed up. I’m very happy.”

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“Tapwrit was getting a beautiful trip,” said Pletcher. “It was everything we talked about in the paddock before the race. We were hoping he had enough when it came to crunch time. It looked like Irish War Cry still had a little something left, but the last sixteenth, he dug down deep.”

Irish War Cry was well clear for the runner up spot, the $2 exacta returning $45.20. The Graham Motion trainee rebounded off a disappointing 10th place run in the Kentucky Derby.

The Pletcher trained Patch was a distant third, completing a $1 trifecta that paid $312.00.

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Next up for Always Dreaming, Tapwrit and Patch could be the logical big races for three-year-olds this summer—the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) on July 29, the Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) on July 30, and the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 26.

While Pletcher was winning his third Belmont and his second Triple Crown win this year after Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby, it was jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert who stole the show on Saturday.

The two Hall of Famers combined to win four stakes— the Easy Goer with West Coast, the Acorn (G1) with Abel Tasman, the Woody Stephens (G2) with American Anthem and the Met Mile (G1) with Mor Spirit.

In addition, Smith was aboard the brilliant Songbird, who returned off a seven-month layoff to win the Ogden Phipps (G1).


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