At the top of the stretch, it looked like Irish War Cry was going to win the $1.5 million G1 Belmont Stakes, but Belmont's long stretch and the mile and a half journey began to take its toll, and Tapwit caught and passed Irish War Cry to go on to win by 2 lengths, with Patch, a son of Union Rags, third, 5 3/4 lengths back.
Pa-bred Mor Spirit, bred by the Elkstone Group, LLC, owned by Michael Lund Peterson and trained by Bob Baffert, won the $1.2 million Metropolitan Stakes for 3 year olds and up at 1 mile on the June 10 stakes filled afternoon, and ran Baffert's incredible skein of victories to four, with a combined worth of $2.55 million.
Tapwit is owned by Bridgewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert V. LaPenta, and trained by Todd Pletcher, and he is by Tapit out of Appealing Zophie, by Successful Appeal.
N.J.-bred Irish War Cry, trained by Graham Motion at the Fair Hill Training Center in Fair Hill, Md., was bred and is owned by Isabelle de Tomaso, a member of the prominent New Jersey Haskell family and a daughter of Amory Haskell.
Most members of the Haskell family were at Belmont for the race, but Bambi Glaccum, a niece of de Tomaso, had to be at Plantation Field where she serves as secretary of the events held there.
"We watched it live streaming from the secretary's stand," said Glaccum. "I began at nine a.m. to make sure we could get it on the computer. Luckily the event was over by the time of the Belmont. It was quite exciting."
After the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished 10th on a muddy, sloppy track, we said, `No, he's not running in the Preakness,'" said Glaccum.
Isabel Ellis, another niece of de Tomaso, said they were going to rest Irish War Cry and aim him for the Haskell, named in honor of Monmouth Park co-founder Amory Haskell, at Monmouth Park.
"Graham Motion took him back to Fair Hill and rested him a while," said Glaccum. "Then he started breezing him, and he felt Irish War Cry might be a good fit for the Belmont. But Aunt Isabelle wanted to concentrate on the Haskell."
"Aunt Isabelle was in Europe, but she flew back from Italy to accept some award from New Jersey about Irish War Cry being a New Jersey-bred," said Glaccum. "Graham called her and said he wanted to run Irish War Cry in the Belmont."
"Aunt Isabelle said, `Oh well, I'm here, we might as well go to Belmont." said Glaccum. "Aunt Isabelle is 86 and takes everything with a grain of sand."
Irish War Cry won $280,000 for his second place finish.
MOR SPIRIT completed Baffert's run of four victories, with all his winners having been ridden by Mike Smith.
The 4-year-old ridgeling contended for control from the beginning and lengthened away during the last eighth of a mile to win by 6 1/5 lengths.
Baffert's first win came in race two with West Coast, who won the $150,000 Easy Goes Stakes for 3 year olds at 1 1/16 miles by 3 3/4 lengths.
Abel Tasman then won race four, the G1, $750,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 mile by 1 length.
Baffert, who is based in California, and Smith also teamed up to win race seven, the G2, $500,000 Woody Stephens Stakes for 3 year olds with American Anthem, who won by 3 1/4 lengths.
Smith won five races on the card, adding his winning ride on Songbird, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who ran her number of wins to 12 from 13 starts when she triumphed in the fifth race, the G1 $750,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes for fillies and mares 4 years old and up by one length.
Motion also trained the G1, $1 million Manhattan Stakes winner, Ascend, owned by Stone Farm and Madaket Stables LLC, who won the 1 1/4 mile turf race by 1 1//4 lengths.
Between Baffert and Motion, those two trainers accounted for six of the 10 stakes on the 13 race card.
Patch, a son of Union Rags, who was bred and owned by Phyllis Wyeth's Chadds Ford Stable, was bred and is owned by Calumet Farms.
Patch has now won one race, finished second twice and third once from five starts and is contributing to the great success of his sire, Union Rags, who now has two crops racing.
Although he was named before an infection claimed one eye, Patch's name is now particularly appropriate.