Belmont Stakes 2017 Live Results, Analysis and Highlights From New York

He also trained Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming.

This is his third victor in the Belmont Stakes, with Rags to Riches winning in 2007 and Palace Malice crossing the line first four years ago.

Although Always Dreaming proved to be an eighth-place disappointment in the Preakness, Tapwrit was everything his connections thought he would be on Saturday.

After a solid day of undercard races, the Belmont Stakes showed why it was considered so wide open leading up to post time. Pletcher won it in 2007 with Rags to Riches, Patch's sire, and with Palace Malice in 2013.

"Well, this is our home base", Pletcher said. But we felt really good coming in that actually both horses were doing very well.

Pletcher's record in the final leg of the Triple Crown gains added luster when his five second-place finishes are considered.

This year's Belmont lacks some of the top three-year-olds in the country, but it should still come out a competitive race. He's unsafe here. At 6-1 or 8-1 or whatever his odds will be, I'll take a good look at him.

"A mile and a half is a long way to go, but in his previous races he has shown us some stamina", Lemaire said. "We were hoping he had enough when it came crunch time".

At 1¼ miles, the distance of the Kentucky Derby, Irish War Cry looked like a victor, and then fatigue hit him as if he ran face first into the Great Wall of China.

"It's an odd race when you don't have the Derby or Preakness victor in it", Romans said.

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Tapwrit captured his first victory since winning the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby on March 11 at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar.

That was followed by two disappointing results.

Tapwrit did not run in the Preakness, but finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby.

Jose Ortiz, NYRA's 2016 riding champion, was in the saddle for Tapwrit's fourth win from eight starts.

"The distance, I was sure he could handle it", winning jockey Ortiz said.

After Irish War Cry, I am confident in Tapwrit to hit the board. Ridden by jockey Jose Ortiz, Tapwrit completed the 1½-mile route over a fast track to edge out favorite Irish War Cry by two lengths. He returned $12.60 to win. One-eyed Patch was third, 7-3/4 lengths off the pace. 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. The La Penta-owned Da' Tara won the Belmont as a longshot in 2008.

A number of horses were conspicuous in their absence.

Irish War Cry inherited the role of favorite after Classic Empire was forced out earlier in the week with an abscess in his hoof.

One of the lightly raced horses with only four starts.

Epicharis, the early 4-1 second choice, was scratched Saturday morning after failing a pre-race veterinary exam. For the first time, a Triple Crown race will be available for pari-mutuel wagering in Japan through a separate, non-comingled pool.

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