Tapwrit wins 149th Belmont Stakes

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Tapwrit won the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

Race favorite Irish War Cry broke away early and led for the majority of the race, but Tapwrit, who came in with 5-1 odds, used a late push to slide into first and grab the win.

The victory gives trainer Todd Pletcher two-thirds of the 2017 Triple Crown with Always Dreaming’s Kentucky Derby victory. It also marks the third time Pletcher has won the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Following the win, Pletcher explained that the race played out exactly the way his team had hoped it would.

“Tapwrit was getting a beautiful trip,” Pletcher said. “It was everything that we had talked about in the paddock before the race. It was just hoping that he had enough when it came crunch time.”

Pletcher is also the trainer of Patch, the one-eyed horse who came away with a third-place finish.

Meanwhile, jockey Jose Ortiz celebrated his first Triple Crown victory, calling the win “unbelievable.”

Both Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing pulled out of the Belmont Stakes, opening up the field and paving the way for three different Triple Crown race winners in 2017.

British horse racing inspired by Formula 1 for new series

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LONDON (AP) British horse racing is drawing inspiration from motor racing for a new championship.

Twelve branded teams will compete over eight consecutive Thursdays at different race courses across Britain when “The Series” is launched by Championship Horse Racing in 2019.

The aim is for each team to feature 30 horses and four jockeys. Each of the teams will enter one horse into each of the races to create 12-runner fields.

Organizers say a Formula One-style points system will be used to determine the winners of championships for teams and jockeys.

Championship Horse Racing CEO Jeremy Wray says it’s a chance to engage fans with “bite-size, interactive content.”

The Series has been developed with the Jockey Club, which hopes to attract a new audience to horse racing.

Kanthaka wins San Vicente prep at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Long shot Kanthaka won the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths on Saturday at Santa Anita, giving Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer a second Kentucky Derby prospect.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Kanthaka ran seven furlongs in 1:22.62 and paid $24.20, $7.20 and $4.80 at 11-1 odds in the field of six 3-year-olds.

Hollendorfer also trains Derby contender Instilled Regard.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Nero returned $7.80 and $5.60 at 9-1 odds. All Out Blitz, another 9-1 shot that was another 12 lengths back in third, returned $5 to show.”

Ax Man, the 2-5 favorite also trained by Baffert, was under intense early pressure from his post along the rail and faltered badly in the stretch to finish fourth.

“I would completely throw this race out,” said Drayden Van Dyke, who rode Ax Man.

Kanthaka was next-to-last midway around the far turn before cutting inside All Out Blitz a quarter mile from the finish of the Grade 2 race.

“He gave me a great run and he did everything right,” Prat said. “He broke like a bullet but then we had quite a lot of speed in front of us. So he sat really nicely behind the speed and made a really nice run around the turn.”

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Kanthaka’s career earnings to $153,440, with two wins in three starts.