Tapwrit wins 149th Belmont Stakes

Tapwrit surged past favorite Irish War Cry in the stretch and edged clear under jockey Jose Ortiz to win by two lengths, becoming the fifth Belmont victor in nine years to skip the Preakness after competing in the Derby.

Tapwrit finished two lengths in front of the field and won the race in 2 minutes, 30.2 seconds after Meantime and Irish War Cry got the Belmont off to a fast start.

Following a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Preakness, Always Dreaming skipped the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Tapwrit was given a ground-saving ride on the rail in third by Ortiz, and it made the difference in the final 150 metres as Tapwrit went on to give sire Tapit a third Belmont win in four years.

Check back after the race to see which horse won the 2017 Belmont Stakes. He won in 2007 with filly Rags to Riches and in 2013 with Palace Malice.

Japanese-trained Epicharis also joined the ranks of absentees on the morning of the race when the vets deemed him unfit to run after lameness issues, which left Graham Motion-trained Irish War Cry as 5-2 favourite in an 11-runner field. Tapwrit did just that Saturday, digging up the last of the sun-caked earth between him and the Belmont Park finish line and leaving trainer Todd Pletcher exultant. "Tapwrit was getting a attractive trip".

Trailing favorite Irish War Cry coming into the final turn at the monstrous track, Tapwrit exploded down the stretch.

"The distance, I was sure he could handle", Ortiz said. His brother, Irad Ortiz, won the Belmont previous year aboard Creator.

It was also extra special for 23-year-old jockey Jose Ortiz, who recorded his first Triple Crown win. "I think that's always an advantage". Veterinarians from NYRA and NY state, along with private vets. have been and will continue to evaluate and provide care to the horse until his departure. They had the right running styles, the right dispositions, the right pedigrees.

We'll have the full race results after the Belmont Stakes.

"It's a feeling I can't explain, I'm very happy right now", jockey Jose Ortiz said after winning the race, adding that the horse's owners "always had a lot of faith in him".

It lacked Always Dreaming and Preakness victor Cloud Computing. The winning trainer, Todd Pletcher, is the undisputed king of racing in NY - and beyond, at the moment - and Tapwrit became his third Belmont Stakes victor, joining Rags to Riches and Palace Malice.

Here are the significant numbers generated by the 149th running of the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes.

Classic Empire was fourth, Practical Joke fifth, Tapwrit sixth, Gunnevera seventh, McCraken eighth, Gormley ninth and Irish War Cry 10th.