There wasn’t quite as much buzz around the 2017 Belmont Stakes without a Triple Crown on the line, but in the end, a talented horse won an exciting race and paid off handsomely for his supporters. Tapwrit, third on the morning line at 6/1, overtook the favored Irish War Cry (7/2) down the stretch to win Saturday’s Belmont by two lengths. Irish War Cry was second; Patch (12/1), the one-eyed fan favorite, closed late to squeak past Gormley (8/1) for third.

Saturday’s betting results show why it’s important to do your homework. After Wednesday’s post-position draw, Epicharis was the second-favorite at 7/2 on the Belmont futures market at Bovada Racebook, but the Japanese thoroughbred was treated for “lameness” in his right front on Friday, and sure enough, he was scratched on race day. That opened up the path even wider for Irish War Cry, but much of that action went to Tapwrit, who was 15/2 after Wednesday’s draw.

The Pletcher Principle

This was the second Triple Crown win of the year for trainer Todd Pletcher, who saw Always Dreaming win the Kentucky Derby just over a month ago. Pletcher seems to have found the right formula for winning on his home court at Belmont Park: Run the Derby, skip the Preakness Stakes, and come back to New York fresh. Each of the top four finishers at the Belmont followed this pattern; Tapwrit came in sixth out of the 20 horses at Churchill Downs. Patch, also trained by Pletcher, was 14th before giving the Preakness a pass.

In a field that saw both Classic Empire and Epicharis scratched leading up to the race, it was Patch and Gormley who provided the support for winning trifectas and superfectas. The exacta with Tapwrit and Irish War Cry was good for $45.20 on a $2 ticket, while the trifecta paid $624 and the superfecta a whopping $4,486. Senior Investment came in fifth, followed by Twisted Tom, Lookin at Lee, Meantime, J Boys Echo and Multiplier. Hollywood Handsome did not finish after jockey Florent Geroux encountered some turbulence around the first turn and lost both irons.

The next marquee event on the horse racing calendar is the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, November 3-4 at Del Mar racetrack in California. Tapwrit should be among the early favorites to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, along with Always Dreaming, Classic Empire, and Preakness winner Cloud Computing. Stay tuned to Bovada Racebook for more information as it becomes available.