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Pletcher takes another jewel in Triple Crown as Tapwrit wins Belmont Stakes

He earned $800,000 for his owners, Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta, and with a record of 4-1-0 from eight starts, has earned $1,143,902, nearly as much as his purchase price of $1.2 million at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton yearling sales in Saratoga Springs, New York. 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.The withdrawal of Classic Empire (foot abscess) and the touch-and-go situation with second favorite Epicharis (+350), who has been held out of training for three consecutive days due to lameness in his right front foot, leave Irish War Cry as a deserving favorite in a 12-horse race that has neither victor of the first two Triple Crown races.Tapwrit took home $800,000 of the race $1.5 million purse.”Tapwrit was getting a handsome trip”, said Pletcher.Tapwrit with a late burst of energy won the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes Saturday. We kind of hoped that somebody else would go for it, but he had to go to Plan B and [jockey] Rajiv [Maragh] did a great job.”It looked like Irish War Cry still had something left (but Tapwrit) really dug down deep”.Epicharis, the early 4-1 second choice, was scratched on race morning after failing to recover from a hoof problem. Despite the subtractions in the race, Ortiz had no qualms with the result as he followed his brother’s footsteps.Jose Ortiz’s first victory in a Triple Crown race is part of what has been a tremendous year-plus for the 23-year-old native of Puerto Rico.It was the third Belmont Stakes victory for Pletcher, who also trained this year’s Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming. Pletcher credited the decision for Tapwrit to skip the Preakness as a strong reason as to why the horse was victorious on Saturday.The loss of Always Dreaming gave Pletcher a clear conscience to not only run Tapwrit but get behind him with both hands.In the weeks leading up to the Stakes, Classic Empire – the second finisher in the Preakness and fourth finisher in the Derby – emerged as a major favorite to win the race.Tapwrit and Patch are trained by Todd Pletcher, who sought his third career Belmont.Tapwrit then made his move down the final stretch, trying to catch Irish War Cry. “The [reasons] I think he suits our style of training and he suits Tapwrit is he’s a pretty aggressive rider, he’s good from the gate, he’s good at getting horses in position, and generally that’s the way most of our horses run”.”The distance, I was sure he could handle”, Ortiz said. “But it’s the Belmont”. It’s a tough race. With those two, Pletcher finished first and third on Saturday.