Tapwrit wins the 149th Belmont Stakes. (Eclipse Sportswire)
Retired jockey Richard Migliore, who works as a racing analyst for the New York Racing Association, offers his expertise from the perspective of a professional rider in a regular feature for America's Best Racing — Monday Morning Mig. A winner of 4,450 career races and the 1981 Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice will review key races on the Triple Crown trail and the road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, providing his thoughts leading into the race, insights about what happened during the running of the race and key takeaways from the outcome.
1. Post Positions: The post positions for the Belmont Stakes were fairly unimportant, although I believe it's always better to be drawn toward the inside.
2. The Start: Favorite Irish War Cry broke alertly and eased towards the inside while making the lead. Tapwrit also broke sharply and was ridden along by Jose Ortiz to gain forward position. Several horses, most notably Hollywood Handsome, encountered serious traffic trouble toward the back of the pack. Hollywood Handsome clipped heels with Twisted Tom, nearly unseating his rider.
3. The Big Move: Jockey Jose Ortiz rode Tapwrit aggressively into the first turn, putting himself into the perfect ground-saving position right behind the favorite Irish War Cry. Ortiz continued his flawless trip around the second turn by intently following Irish War Cry and not allowing him to slip away.
5. The Finish: The winner Tapwrit and runner-up Irish War Cry separated themselves from the field, waging a pitched stretch duel until the final yards where Tapwrit’s stamina prevailed. In a year where the Belmont Stakes did not have the Derby or Preakness winner, these two colts put on quite a show.
6. The Takeaway: With three different horses winning a leg of the Triple Crown, the second half of the season takes on even more importance to determine the champion 3-year-old of 2017. I'm looking forward to races such as the Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park and the Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. The ride that Jose Ortiz delivered winning his first classic is just a harbinger of things to come for this extremely talented young man. Todd Pletcher, trainer of Tapwrit, took down two-thirds of this year's Triple Crown, reinforcing his already incredible career. Todd's record in the Belmont may not match Woody Stephens' yet, but give it time.
2017 Belmont S. presented by NYRABets June 10th, 2017