Tapwrit runs down Irish War Cry to take Belmont Stakes

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Jen Caldwell

June 11th, 2017

Tapwrit rallied in the lane of Saturday’s 149th running of the Belmont Stakes (G1) to collar 5-2 favorite Irish War Cry and pull off the win under jockey Jose Ortiz, whose brother Irad Oritz Jr. won this same race under Creator last year.

This time around, Jose Ortiz tucked Tapwrit down on the inside to track splits of :23.88, :48.66, 1:14.01 and 1:38.01 set by 5-2 favorite Irish War Cry. Meantime was just outside the pacesetter while Gormley raced outside of Tapwrit.

Neither one of those two could keep pace rounding the turn, paving the way for a stretch duel between Tapwrit and Irish War Cry. Tapwrit angled to the outside of his rival and the duo came together and made contact in midstretch, but kept on fighting. The eventual winner inched away in the end to finish 1 1/2 miles over Belmont Park’s fast main track in 2:30.02.

Irish War Cry tried to lead all the way home under jockey Rajiv Maragh, but was forced to settle for second by two lengths. He was followed under the wire by Patch, Gormley, Senior Investment, Twisted Tom, Lookin at Lee, Meantime, J Boys Echo and Multiplier.

Hollywood Handsome bumped with another runner and took up sharply entering the first turn, causing jockey Florent Geroux to lose his irons. According to the on-call AAEP veterinarian, Hollywood Handsome had a cut behind his left knee.

Sent off at 5-1 in the Belmont Stakes, Tapwrit paid $12.60 while improving his record to read 8-4-1-0. He is trained by Todd Pletcher, who also saddled Always Dreaming to Kentucky Derby (G1) victory in May, and campaigned by Bridledwood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Parnters and Robert LaPenta.

The gray son of Tapit broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park West in his second outing and took the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park as a juvenile, then returned this year to finish second in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) on February 11. Next out, the Kentucky-bred sophomore ran away to a 4 1/2-length victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), but could do no better than fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland on April 8.

Despite that subpar effort, Tapwrit took part in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs but broke to the inside of Irish War Cry. He was forced into tight quarters and steadied off hooves when Irish War Cry bore in at the break, causing problems for a number of Derby runners. Tapwrit eventually finished sixth in the Derby and skipped the Preakness Stakes (G1) in favor of taking on this, the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

Bred in Kentucky by My Meadowview LLC, Tapwrit is out of the Grade 1-winning Successful Appeal mare Appealing Zophie. His female line includes fellow Grade 1 scorers Croeso and Super May.