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Belmont Stakes Preview and Analysis: Irish War Cry Morning Line Favorite

Belmont Stakes Preview and Analysis: Irish War Cry Morning Line Favorite

Neither the victor of the Kentucky Derby (Always Dreaming) nor the victor of the Preakness Stakes (Cloud Computing) was in the field.

Tapwrit paid $12.60, $6.50 and $5 at 5-1 odds.

Pletcher also will saddle the one-eyed Patch, who placed 14th in Kentucky.

He started on the road to the Triple Crown with a 3 3/4-length victory in the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2), ran seventh by 21 3/4 lengths in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth (G2), won the Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets (G2) by 3 1/2 lengths, and came in 10th in the Kentucky Derby.

The sun shined and the alcohol flowed on a warm and breezy early spring Saturday at Belmont Park, and the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes kicked off at 6:38 p.m.

Jockey Jose Ortiz captured the first Classic victory of his young career.

Jockey Jose Ortiz and Tapwrit riding to victory at the Blemont Stakes.

Jose Ortiz was on board the 5-1 second favourite - trained by Todd Pletcher - to emulate brother Irad Ortiz Jr, who won the same race a year ago on Creator.

Cloud Computing just edged Classic Empire in the late stretch during the Preakness to pull off a big price upset. Tapwrit entered the race at 5-1 odds, while Irish War Cry entered with 3-1 odds.

Hoppert: The distance could be an issue for the ninth-place finisher in the Derby, but he is the lone Grade 1 victor in the field (with two). "Obviously the horse comes first, and if there are any problems, they'll re-evaluate". "Each of these races individually stand on their own as major, major races and huge wins", he said.

Monmouth Park's $1 million, Grade 1 Betfair Haskell Invitational at a mile and a furlong on July 31 looms as a high dollar possible for both Tapwrit and Irish War Cry.

It will be fascinating to see how Tapwrit gets on at November's Breeders' Cup Classic, where winners of the Triple Crown races tend to test their mettle.

Irish War Cry held on to finish second, while Meantime faded to an eighth-place showing. Graham Motion said the plan wasn't for the son of Curlin to have the lead, but the trainer was not unhappy with the trip or performance by his colt.

"We were hoping we might get a little bit of a stalking trip, but we had to go to Plan B and Rajiv did a great job", said Motion. His sire, Curlin, finished second in the 2007 Belmont and produced the 2013 victor, Palace Malice.

"Well, this is our home base", Pletcher said. "He got a handsome trip".

"The horse was close to being able to compete but we ran out of time", trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara said through a translator. I'm willing to let Irish War Cry beat me as the favorite and look elsewhere.

Star-on-the-rise Brown also seems unbeatable these days as he looms over the NY scene, and he will be defending his first-ever Saratoga title in a few weeks, having stopped Pletcher's domination with a record 40 wins last summer.