The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY TOM CANAVAN


Sir Win­ston gave the Triple Crown an­other un­ex­pected turn, ral­ly­ing to cap­ture the Bel­mont Stakes on Satur­day in a 10-1 up­set.

The win gave trainer Mark Casse the fi­nal two jewels in the show­case for 3-year-old thor­ough­breds. He won the Preak­ness with War of Will, who was ex­pected to bat­tle fa­vored Tac­i­tus in the 1 1⁄ mile Bel­mont. 2

In­stead, Casse’s other’s colt took the lead af­ter a ground-sav­ing ride by Joel Rosario and held off Tac­i­tus by a length. Long shot Jo­e­via fin­ished third and Tax was fourth.

The Triple Crown grind caught up to War of Will, who ran in all three races. He fin­ished ninth in the 10-horse field.

The Bel­mont capped an en­ter­tain­ing Triple Crown high­lighted by a dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the Ken­tucky Derby and a horse with­out a rider in the Preak­ness. It sparked in­ter­est in thor­ough­bred rac­ing de­spite no possibilit­y of the third Triple Crown win­ner in five years, com­ing on the heels of Justify last year and Amer­i­can Pharoah in 2015.

The Bel­mont was a jockey’s race and Rosario was the right rider on a horse full of run.

Breaking from the No. 7 post, Rosario guided the chest­nut colt to the rail for an en­ergy-sav­ing trip. Sir Win­ston was eighth for the first half-mile and then started to rally on the fi­nal turn.

Up front, 21-1 long shot Jo­e­via con­tin­ued to set the pace with Tax closely track­ing. In the stretch, Rosario angled Sir Win­ston – named for Win­ston Churchill – off the rail and slightly both­ered sta­ble­mate War of Will.

This time, there was no in­quiry or ob­jec­tion. Sir Win­ston surged to the lead and held off a late run from Tac­i­tus, who had an ex­tremely wide trip un­der jockey Jose Or­tiz.

The sec­ond-place fin­ish de­nied trainer Bill Mott two-thirds of the Triple Crown. His Coun­try House was awarded first place in the Ken­tucky Derby.

Sir Win­ston paid $22.40, $8.80 and $6.10. Tac­i­tus re­turned $3.90 and $3.20 as the 9-5 fa­vorite. Jo­e­via hung on for third, pay­ing $8.70.

Af­ter Tax, Mas­ter Fencer was fifth fol­lowed by Spinoff, Ever­fast, In­trepid Heart, War of Will and Bourbon War. The winning time was 2:28.30 on the fast track un­der sunny skies.

This un­pre­dictable Triple Crown sea­son started with a wild re­sult in the Ken­tucky Derby. Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity crossed the fin­ish line first and be­come the first ap­par­ent win­ner to be dis­qual­i­fied, taken down for in­ter­fer­ing with War of Will in the stretch. Coun­try House was elevated to first, giv­ing Mott his first Derby win and be­com­ing the sec­ond long­est shot (65-1) to win the Derby.

War of Will came back two weeks later to win the Preak­ness, but his im­pres­sive per­for­mance was over­shad­owed when a ri­val threw his jockey and ran around the track as the race con­tin­ued.


Jockey Joel Rosario and Sir Win­ston, crossed the fin­ish line ahead of Tac­i­tus, cen­ter, with jockey Jose Or­tiz up, to win the Bel­mont Stakes on Satur­day. Sir Win­ston was a 10-1 long shot.

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