Tapwrit wins Belmont Stakes

Rufina Vignone
Giugno 25, 2017

Todd Pletcher's Tapwrit took the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. on Saturday.

The 49-year-old Pletcher may be a Texas native, but he settled into the biggest and best racing jurisdiction in North America nearly 30 years ago.

Swiss watchmaker Longines are the Official Timekeeper and Watch of the 2017 edition of the Triple Crown series, and owner, trainer and jockey were all presented with elegant Longines timepieces to honour their victory.

For the winning jockey, the Belmont win evened the score with his brother and fellow rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., who won last year's Belmont with Creator.

Last year, Jose was on the back of Forever d'Oro and came in 13th. Two of those involved oh-so-close photo finishes, when Commissioner missed by a head against Tonalist in 2014 and Destin was nipped by nothing more than Creator's nose previous year.

The final leg of the Triple Crown is certainly the most challenging.

With a possible Triple Crown glittering on the horizon, Always Dreaming lost the Preakness, which, as disappointing as it was for Pletcher, provided a measure of relief, since it eliminated a scenario in which two horses he liked for the Belmont, Tapwrit and the one-eyed Patch, would be shoved into a position to thwart their own stablemate's Triple Crown bid. "So at least today he showed some of his true colors, so I'm really happy about that". "I'm happy for the owners and for Todd [Pletcher] for giving me the opportunity". His winning time was 2:30.02.

"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.

Meanwhile, Bridlewood Farm and Eclipse Thoroughbred's Tapwrit, a $1.2 million purchase, was training at his Belmont Park home base from Pletcher's shed row. 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.

Given there was no Triple Crown at stake this year and that the winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing respectively, were absent, there was a sense this year's Belmont Stakes may not have lived up to the hype.

Pletcher called Ortiz "a superstar on the rise". He's good from the gate. They had the right running styles, the right dispositions, the right pedigrees.

Still, Pletcher said he thought that Always Dreaming was the best 3-year-old in his barn and had a real chance to sweep the Triple Crown.

Ortiz started his career in Puerto Rico in 2012.

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.

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. Aqueduct, New York's base for winter racing, was a place to go between meets at Belmont and Saratoga.

Things have a way of working out for Pletcher, victor of a record seven Eclipse Awards as the leading trainer in North America, and they worked out again this time.

It's more than good after he earned his third Belmont Stakes victory. It was a two-horse race to the finish line, with Tapwrit gaining the lead in the final furlong. Now he won't ever forget Tapwrit.

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