Irish War Cry, Tapwrit and Lookin At Lee were the three favorites, but there were plenty of other horses that could’ve had a shot to win to the 2017 Belmont Stakes.
Pletcher thus took two of the three 2017 Triple Crown races, having saddled Always Dreaming to victory in the Derby.
Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming finished eighth in the Preakness, so he is skipping the Belmont.
A year after Pletcher-trained Destin got caught at the wire by Creator in the Belmont, Tapwrit stopped the clock in 2:30.02 to give his trainer a second classic win of the year, after Always Dreaming’s victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Gormley raced in the Kentucky Derby but chose to skip the Preakness, which may give him a bit of advantage over numerous horses heading into the starting gate today.
Epicharis, the early 4-1 second choice, was scratched on race morning after failing to recover from a hoof problem. But he’s a big horse, and both Hill and trainer Ken McPeek came out of Baltimore saying the Belmont would be right up his alley.
“We were hoping that he had enough left when it came down to crunch time because it was looking like Irish War Cry had a little something left, but in that last 16 he really dug deep”.
The win completed a stellar triple crown for Pletcher, who also trained Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming.
“We talked about it, but we felt like Jose fit the horse well; he’d done nothing wrong”, Pletcher said.
Yes, he was thrilled at the prospect of aiming for a Triple Crown with convincing Derby victor Always Dreaming. His brother, Irad, won the race previous year with Creator. “I think that’s always an advantage”. Classic Empire, the expected favourite, dropped out on Wednesday with a foot abscess. Graham Motion said the plan wasn’t for the son of Curlin to have the lead, but the trainer was not unhappy with the trip or performance by his colt.
Tapwrit (2) with jockey Jose Ortiz comes in first during the 2017 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on Sunday, June 10. Irish War Cry finished second while Patch took third.
The +300 betting favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for the Belmont is Irish War Cry, who will start from Post 7 in the 12-horse field under jockey Rajiv Maragh.
Irish War Cry returned $4.70 to place and $3.90 to show.
“At the eighth pole, I thought was might be home free”, Motion said, “but it’s the Belmont”.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Top Three-Year-Old Poll lists Lookin At Lee as the best horse in the remaining field of 11, and his 5-to-1 odds, now second best, seem to reaffirm his favorite status.
The colt that had banished him, Cloud Computing, was rested by his owners and pointed toward rich races at the end of the summer like the Haskell Invitational and the Travers Stakes. It’s a tough race.
“I have a lot to do with this horse“, Tudhope told Alyssa Ali after the race.