With all hopes of a Triple Crown success extinguished for this year, the final leg of the Belmont Stakes was notable for those horses who were missing, which included Always Dreaming and the Preakness Stakes victor, Cloud Computing.
Tapwrit capitalised on the absence of both the Kentucky Derby (2000m) and Preakness Stakes (1900m) winners to land the final leg of America's coveted three-year-old Triple Crown, the Group 1 Belmont Stakes (2400m), on Sunday. Pletcher won it in 2007 with Rags to Riches, Patch's sire, and with Palace Malice in 2013. This was the third Belmont attempt for Jose Ortiz, who finished sixth with Samraat in 2014 and last with Forever d'Oro previous year.
"It's all good", Pletcher said.
Pletcher, who is set to run American Patriot in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot later this month, said afterwards, "Tapwrit was getting a attractive trip".
Graham Motion took Irish War Cry back to his base in Fair Hill, Md. and started planning a summer campaign. Epicharis was 4-0 racing in his native country but comes off a second-place finish in March at the UAE Derby. Tapwrit also became the first horse to win the race from the second post since 1994, according to ESPN.
Pletcher thus took two of the three 2017 Triple Crown races, having saddled Always Dreaming to victory in the Derby.
Derby win was awesome, and the ebbs and flows of this game are well-documented.
Running in - and winning - all three US Classics in the space of five weeks is a demanding task.
Hoppert: The Tesio Stakes victor is steadily improving and has a pedigree that suggests he may like the mile-and-a-half distance. "I don't think it would be a surprise if either of them ran well". "Fortunately, it all fell into place".
It remains to be seen which 3-year-old will emerge, but it sets up the summer to be something special.
The Triple Crown includes the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
To put even more of a twist on things, one of the early favorites at the Belmont, Classic Empire, had to withdraw from the race earlier this week due to a foot issue.More news: North Korea: US leaving Paris agreement 'selfish,' 'silly'
Epicharis, thought to have a big shot to give Japan its first Belmont victor, was scratched the morning of the race when a veterinary exam revealed continued inflammation in his right front foot. Good luck to those who are wagering, and most of all enjoy the race.
"Tapwrit was getting a handsome trail and it was everything that we'd talked about before the race".
But as the footage above shows, we still got an absorbing race.
"The horse was close to being able to compete but we ran out of time", trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara said through a translator. Irish War Cry entered as the 3/1 favorite for the Belmont.
"We were hoping we might get a little bit of a stalking trip but we had to go to Plan B and Rajiv did a great job".
Tapwrit, meanwhile, settled in third, right behind the dueling leaders. 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.
"At the eighth pole, I thought was might be home free", Motion said, "but it's the Belmont".
And finally, another early season star, Mastery, who was undefeated before coming up lame after a dominant win will miss his third race of the triple crown series as he recovers from surgery.
"I would agree", said trainer Ken McPeek, who has 12-1 shot Senior Investment in the Belmont. "I am not going to knock any of the competitors".
That's unfortunately the case Saturday for the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes, the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1½ miles.
The race was held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. He showed no signs of fatigue as jockey Jose Ortiz charged with him past Irish War Cry on the outside and through the finish line for the victory.
The Todd Pletcher-trained, one-eyed Patch has Derby-winning jockey John Velazquez onboard after finishing 14th in Kentucky, while Pletcher's best prospect is likely to be Tapwrit, which was sixth in the Derby.