Sir Winston came off the pace to win the 151st Belmont Stakes on Saturday, holding off the favored Tacitus at Elmont, N.Y.
Without a lane in the stretch, Sir Winston, at 10-1 odds, managed to weave through traffic under jockey Joel Rosario, going from the inside to the outside while passing in front of War of Will just before grabbing the lead in the 1 1/2-mile race. Rosario won his second career Belmont Stakes.
Sir Winston’s winning time was 2 minutes, 28.30 seconds. He did not race in either of the first two Triple Crown races and was coming off a second-place finish in the May 11 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.
“He seemed like he didn’t want to be inside and I just took my time with him,” Rosario said. “For the distance, he broke pretty good. The last time (in the Peter Pan Stakes) it was bothering him because there was good speed in front. Today he was a little closer and I let him be comfortable.”
Trainer Mark Casse not only had Sir Winston fit for the Preakness Stakes, he also was the trainer of War of Will, the Preakness Stakes winner.
“I said all week long that he was doing really well and he had a race over the (Belmont) track,” Casse said. “I could see War of Will was struggling a bit. He looked like he was flat today and I saw (Rosario) cut the corner a little bit.”
Casse admitted that when Sir Winston made his move in front of War of Will, he switched his attention from the Preakness winner to the eventual winner of this race.
Joevia finished in third place, while Tax was in fourth place. War of Will, the second favorite behind the 9-5 Tacitus, finished in ninth place.
Sir Winston paid $22.40 to win, Tacitus paid $3.90 to place and Joevia paid $8.70 to show.
As Sir Winston moved off the rail at the start of the stretch, War of Will and Tacitus bumped slightly. But unlike the Kentucky Derby, there was no inquiry for interference. The victory was the third in 10 career starts for Sir Winston.
The race brought to a close one of the most bizarre Triple Crown seasons in history as Maximum Security crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby on May 4 but was disqualified for interference, giving runner-up Country House the victory at 65-1 odds.
The May 18 Preakness Stakes then went to War of Will, who was one of two horses that Maximum Security was ruled to have interfered with in the Kentucky Derby.
Country House did not run in the Preakness because of a virus, the first time since 1996 the winner in Kentucky did not run in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
War of Will was the only horse to run in all three legs of this year’s Triple Crown.
–Field Level Media