Creator gets up to deny Destin in 2016 Belmont Stakes, Lani third
On Saturday, that gray colt by Tapit put in a ferocious rally down the stretch of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) to nip Destin by a nose on the wire.
The late-running Creator headed for the inside after breaking from the far outside post 13 under jockey Irad Oritz Jr. when the gates opened. The duo settled near the rear of the pack as Gettysburg set the pace through splits of :24.09, :48.48, 1:13.28 and 1:37.96.
Gettysburg had plenty of company in the form of Destin, who was latched on to his outside, while 7-5 favorite and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Exaggerator was biding his time in midpack.
Destin found himself going three wide around the final turn, but quickly grabbed the advantage as the rest of the field began closing in. Creator was still sixth at this point and Japanese invader Lani wasn’t far behind, but while Creator entered the lane three wide the fan favorite Lani found himself running down the center of the track about six off the rail.
Destin continued digging deep as he motored down the stretch, but Creator slowly inched his way forward to just get his nose in front on the wire. Creator stopped the clock in 2:28.51 for 1 1/2 miles over Belmont Park’s fast main track and returned $34.80 at 16-1.
Lani was forced to settle for third another 1 1/2 lengths back while 2 1/2 lengths clear of Governor Malibu in fourth.
Stradivari came next and was followed under the wire by Brody’s Cause, Cherry Wine, Gettysburg, Suddenbreakingnews, Trojan Nation, Exaggerator, Seeking the Soul and Forever d’Oro.
Bred in Kentucky by Mt. Brilliant Broodmares I LLC, Creator took a long time to break his maiden. The colt finally did so in his sixth attempt after going 0-4-0 from five previous starts. However, his initial win came by 7 1/4 lengths at Oaklawn Park in late February.
Based on that trainer Steve Asmussen threw the gray to the wolves when starting Creator in the Rebel (G2) a month later. The youngster reputed himself well in his stakes bow, finishing third, and then recorded a resounding victory when capturing the Arkansas Derby (G1) next out at 11-1.
That triumph gave Creator enough points to make the Kentucky Derby, but the colt suffered a terrible trip and wound up a well-beaten 13th on the wire.
Creator’s connections bypassed the Preakness Stakes (G1), giving their charge some time to recover from his Kentucky Derby ordeal, and brought him to Belmont Park for the “Test of the Champion.”
That proved to be a wise move, as the Kentucky-bred improved his career mark to 10-3-4-1 with Saturday’s victory.
Creator, who more than doubled his earnings to $1,568,320, sold for $440,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. He is the second registered foal out of the Privately Held mare Morena, who is a multiple champion in her native country of Peru.
Creator photo courtesy of Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos
Lani, Creator, Destin photo courtesy of Uli Seit/Horsephotos.com