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Breeders' Cup 2017

Tapwrit, Patch exit Belmont Stakes 2017 in excellent shape

A relaxed and happy Todd Pletcher reported Sunday morning that Tapwrit, commanding winner of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, and third-place finisher Patch exited their efforts in Saturday's 1 ½-mile race in "excellent shape."

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

Pletcher said the difference for Tapwrit, who had finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Blue Grass and Kentucky Derby, on Saturday came at the very beginning of the race.

"It was all about the start," he said. "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 jockey 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."

With his Derby winner Always Dreaming having skipped the Belmont to await a summer campaign, Pletcher appears to have a strong hand heading into the second half of the season.

"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, who is two-for-two and looked good winning [an allowance] here Thursday, is possible for the Dwyer, as well as [Grade 2 Wood Memorial runner-up] Battalion Runner. They're in the mix."

Pletcher said he was looking ahead to either the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy [July 29, Saratoga Race Course] or the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park the following day as a lead-in to the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers at the Spa on August 26 for his two Classic winners.

"We have options with Patch," he added. "He's still eligible for a one-other-than, and there's the Curlin [$100,000, July 28, Saratoga]."

Source: NYRA Communications


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