Triple Crown

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.

Always Dreaming wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

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Always Dreaming, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by jockey John Velazquez, won the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby in 2:03.59. 

This was Pletcher and Velazquez’s second Kentucky Derby win.
Always Dreaming, facing 9-2 odds to begin the race, got off to a great start in the wide open field of 20, but State of Honor had the edge. Velazquez made his move on the far turn, holding off the field in the final furlong to earn the Garland of Roses.

Lookin at Lee followed in second place with Battle at Midway crossing in third.

An emotional Pletcher said post race that his second win is “even more special” than his first, especially given his past struggles in running the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher won his first in 2010 with Super Saver and in his 17 years now has two wins, two second place finishes and three thirds.

However, after being presented with the trophy, Pletcher said he’s “a lot less tired” of the narrative that’s haunted him in the past.

Velazquez’s first Kentucky Derby win came one year after Pletcher’s, leading Animal Kingdom in 2011. Though Pletcher is Velazquez’s longtime trainer, this is the first Derby win for the two together.

“On to the Preakness” was the mantra for Always Dreaming’s owner Vincent Viola during the trophy presentation, but can Always Dreaming be the next Triple Crown winner?

American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed’s win in 1978 and was just the 12th Triple Crown winner in the sport’s history. Can Always Dreaming be the next? Find out May 20, 2017 when the next leg in the quest for the Triple Crown takes us to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD for the 2017 Preakness Stakes.

Six three-year-olds nominated late to Triple Crown series

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thunder Snow, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas, is among six 3-year-olds made eligible to compete in the Triple Crown series during the late nomination period.

The late nominees, which required a payment of $6,000 each, raise the total nominations to 425 for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The late nomination period closed Monday. The early nomination window closed in January and required a payment of $600.

Ireland-bred Thunder Snow, owned by Godolphin Racing, is set to run Saturday in the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai. The colt has three wins in seven career starts for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The other late nominees are Hollywood Handsome, trained by Dallas Stewart; More Than Words, trained by Charlie LoPresti; Parlor, trained by Eddie Kenneally; Rapid Dial, trained by Ingrid Mason; and Stretch’s Stone, trained by Bruce Levine.

Thoroughbreds that weren’t nominated to the Triple Crown have one final chance by paying a supplemental fee. The fee for the Derby is $200,000; $150,000 for the Preakness; and $75,000 for the Belmont.