Pletcher Savoring Belmont Win

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Tapwrit | Sarah Andrew

Tapwrit (Tapit) exited his victory in Saturday’s GI Belmont S. in fine shape, according to trainer Todd Pletcher. Pletcher was pleased with the condition of both the race’s winner and stablemate Patch (Union Rags), who finished third.

“I was really pleased with their energy level,” the trainer said. “It was a great win for the whole team.”

After winning the GII Tampa Bay Derby in March, Tapwrit disappointed when fifth in the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. and sixth in the GI Kentucky Derby.

“It was all about the start,” Pletcher said of the difference between the Derby and Belmont. “He broke great, unlike his previous two races. For a second, I even thought he was going to be on the lead. [But] that was exactly the trip we talked about in the paddock before the race.”

Of winning rider Jose Ortiz, Pletcher added, “Jose, it’s obvious he’s an up-and-coming superstar, if not there already. We felt he was a good fit for this horse. His riding style fits our training style. Even though [Tapwrit] didn’t fire his best shot in the Blue Grass and was compromised at the start of the Derby, he maintained his confidence in the horse.”

After taking two-thirds of this year’s Triple Crown with Tapwrit and Derby winner Always Dreaming (Bodemeister) and with several promising newcomers to the scene, Pletcher appears poised for a big summer and fall in the 3-year-old division.

“Any time you have a Derby and a Belmont winner it’s awesome,” said Pletcher. “We feel fortunate to have won two legs. It will be interesting to see how it develops down the road. Patch put himself in the thick of things. Coal Front (Stay Thirsty), who is two-for-two and looked good winning [an allowance] here Thursday, is possible for the [July 8 GIII] Dwyer, as well as [GII Wood Memorial runner-up] Battalion Runner (Unbridled’s Song). They’re in the mix.”

Under consideration for his two Classic winners are the July 29 GII Jim Dandy S. and July 30 GI Haskell Invitational ahead of the Aug. 26 GI Travers S.

“We have options with Patch,” Pletcher added. “He’s still eligible for a one-other-than, and there’s the [July 28] Curlin.”

Belmont runner-up Irish War Cry (Curlin) was also doing well Sunday morning and will now be pointed towards the Haskell for his New Jersey-based owners.

“He’ll leave tomorrow morning and head back to Fair Hill, then we can get him back out in his round pen and kind of rest him up and get him ready for the Haskell,” trainer Graham Motion confirmed. “That’s definitely what we’d like to do, so fingers crossed, that’s where we’ll be.”

Chad Brown, Javier Castello and Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence earned top honors in the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival Championship presented by NYRA Bets for best overall performance by a trainer, jockey and owner, respectively, during the three-day event at Belmont Park.

Brown saddled GI Longines Just a Game winner Antonoe (First Defence), as well as GIII Wonder Again S. winner New Money Honey (Medaglia d’Oro) and runner-up Fifty Five (Get Stormy). Brown also had seven runner-up finishes, including Time Test (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the GI Woodford Reserve Manhattan and Paid Up Subscriber (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the GI Ogden Phipps.

Castellano edged Belmont S.-winning rider Jose Ortiz by a single point, 50-49, to win the Eddie Arcaro Award. Among his victories were the Just a Game with Antonoe, the GII Brooklyn with War Story (Northern Afleet), New Money Honey in the Wonder Again and I Still Miss You (Majestic Warrior) in the Astoria S.

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