Drosselmeyer Wins Belmont Stakes - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Drosselmeyer Wins Belmont Stakes

NEW YORK (AP) - Drosselmeyer finally got a shot in a Triple

Crown race and it paid off with an upset in the $1 million Belmont

Stakes.

Left out of the Kentucky Derby because he hadn't earned enough

money to qualify, Drosselmeyer staged a stirring stretch run and

beat Fly Down by three-quarters of a length Saturday in the final

leg of the Triple Crown.

With neither Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver nor Preakness

winner Lookin At Lucky in the field, the 1½-mile Belmont looked to

be a matchup of classic runner-ups - Ice Box from the Derby vs.

First Dude from the Preakness.

First Dude took the lead from the start, but couldn't hold off

Drosselmeyer in the stretch and finished third. Ice Box, the 9-5

favorite trained by Nick Zito, was never in contention and finished

ninth in the 12-horse field. Fly Down, also trained by Zito, was

the second choice at 5-1.

The victory not only reaffirmed Drosselmeyer's talent after

failing to win in his past three starts, it also produced a few

firsts for a pair of Hall of Famers.

Jockey Mike Smith ended his 0 for 12 record in the Belmont, and

trainer Bill Mott won his first Triple Crown race.

"It all came together," said Mott, best known as the trainer

of the great Cigar in 1995-96. "I think it was just a matter of

time with some of the good horses I get to train that it was going

to happen."

One reason it happened may be a jockey switch to Smith from Kent

Desormeaux.

"I felt like the horse needed a little change in routine,"

said WinStar Farm racing manager Elliott Walden. "We went to Mike

because we felt he would get him in a rhythm and keep him running.

This horse really kicked hard turning for home and finished

strong."

WinStar seems to making all the right calls these days, and

closed out the Triple Crown with wins in two races - they also own

Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver. Super Saver and Preakness winner

Lookin At Lucky did not run in the final leg of the Triple Crown.

On a hot, sunny Saturday in front of 45,243 at Belmont Park,

Drosselmeyer was sent off at odds of 13-1. It was Smith who made a

key decision to keep his long-striding colt in the clear. He eased

the gleaming chestnut to the outside for the run down the

backstretch, always keeping First Dude within range.

Drosselmeyer made a four wide move on the final turn and

continued widest of all, eventually reeling in First Dude and then

holding off a late charge from Fly Down.

Drosselmeyer, a 3-year-old colt owned by WinStar Farm, won in

2:31.57. The son of Distorted Humor also gave Smith his first

Belmont win in his 13th try.

Drosselmeyer had been an underachiever all year in finishing

fourth, third and second in his last three starts. But in his first

try at a Triple Crown race, and with Smith aboard for the first

time, the colt turned on the speed to pull off the victory.

Game on Dude was fourth, followed by Uptowncharlybrown, Stay

Put, Interactif, Stately Victor, Ice Box, Make Music for Me, Dave

In Dixie and Spangled Star.

Drosselmeyer returned $28, $11.60 and $7.70. Fly Down, with John

Velazquez aboard, paid $6.80 and $5.10. First Dude returned $4.90

to show.

After the race, racing officials said Uptowncharlybrown was

disqualified and unplaced after a weight violation. The horse lost

his lead weight pad during the race and failed to carry the

required 126 pounds.

Zito had mixed emotions about his favorites.

"I'm obviously disappointed in Ice Box," Zito said. "He was

ready to go the last couple of days, but I guess he just left his

race somewhere. He certainly didn't run, that's for sure.

As for Fly Down, who came into the Belmont off an impressive

six-length win in the Dwyer last month over the same track, the

Hall of Fame trainer said "I'm happy obviously Fly Down ran

great."

The victory by Drosselmeyer brings to a close another year

without a Triple Crown win. It's 32 years and counting since

Affirmed became the 11th Triple Crown champion by sweeping the

Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

At first, it appeared the brilliant 3-year-old colt Eskendereya

had a chance to end the longest drought between Triple Crown

winners. But the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial winner

developed swelling in his left front leg and was pulled out of

Derby consideration a week before the race.

It was a tough blow for trainer Todd Pletcher, who came into the

Derby with an 0 for 24 record. But on Derby day, Pletcher's Super

Saver came through to win thanks to a patented rail-hugging ride

from Calvin Borel.

In the Preakness two weeks later, after Borel had guaranteed a

Triple Crown, Super Saver gave way in the stretch and finished

eighth. That ended any chance of a Triple try in the Belmont, and

left the final leg of the Triple Crown without either classic

winner for the second time in four years and just the third time

since 1970.

 

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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