Tapwrit wins Belmont Stakes

The winning jockey, Jose Ortiz, is perennially at the top of the New York Racing Association's rider standings.

The 23-year-old native of Puerto Rico saw his horse respond. Made the 53-10 second choice in the Belmont, the gray came away well and found a flawless spot stalking the pace of 'TDN Rising Star' Irish War Cry (Curlin) from the second flight through splits of:23.88, :48.66 and 1:14.01. While there's no triple crown at stake, it's still one last chance to watch one of horse racing's classic events.

The odds-on favorite, Classic Empire, had 2-to-1 odds to win Belmont until his trainer Mark Casse withdrew the horse from the race on Wednesday.

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 past year. American Pharoah won the Belmont to complete the Triple Crown.

Tapwrit was given a ground-saving ride on the rail in third by Ortiz, and it made the difference in the final 150 metres as Tapwrit went on to give sire Tapit a third Belmont win in four years. "It's a feeling I can't explain". "I'm happy for the owners and for Todd for giving me the opportunity". The final time in the 1 ½ mile race over a track rated fast was 2:30.02.

"The distance, I was sure he could handle it", winning jockey Ortiz said. The on-call veterinarian told the NBC broadcast that he had suffered a small laceration on the back of his knee but that he'd be fine. Handle on the race suffered from a lackluster field that did not include the Kentucky Derby victor, the Preakness victor, the expected favorite, or any clear standout.

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Pletcher, though, has been enthused with Ortiz's work. "He's just a phenomenal rider".

It took a while for Tapwrit to find his best gear. He's good from the gate. However, there was even more adding to the excitement of the 149th running of the race. They had the right running styles, the right dispositions, the right pedigrees. Assuming he gets a better trip in a much-less crowded Belmont field, the two-time Grade 1 victor is a solid bet to finish somewhere on the board today.

Ortiz started his career in Puerto Rico in 2012. Veterinarians from NYRA and NY state, along with private vets. have been and will continue to evaluate and provide care to the horse until his departure. He holds 26 meet titles in NY, including 12 at 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.

Belmont Stakes 2017: Live updates from Belmont ParkWho won the 2017 Belmont Stakes? Tapwrit finished sixth at Churchill Downs, a feat that Boston Globe writer Joe Sullivan considers "laudable" considering the traffic problems Tapwrit faced in the Derby. Now he won't ever forget Tapwrit.

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