Another Triple Crown surprise: Sir Winston takes Belmont

NEW YORK — Sir Winston provided a perfect finish to a crazy Triple Crown.

After a disqualification in the Kentucky Derby and a runaway horse in the Preakness, of course the Belmont Stakes goes to a 10-1 long shot.

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Sir Winston captured the $1.5 million race Saturday, holding off favored Tacitus by a length.

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 Tacitus in the 1 1/2 mile Belmont.

Instead, Casse’s other’s colt took the lead after a ground-saving ride by Joel Rosario.

It wasn’t really a shock to Casse.

“I said all week he was doing really well,” Casse said. “He had a race over the track. What can I say? It’s just exciting.”

Sir Winston, who was making his Triple Crown debut, finished second in the Peter Pan Stakes, the traditional prep for the Belmont.

Rosario rode him for the first time in that race, and the two put on a show Saturday in front of a crowd of 56,217, earning $800,000 for owner Tracy Farmer.

Long shot Joevia finished third and Tax was fourth.

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

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“I could see where War of Will was struggling a little bit,” Casse said. “He looked like maybe he was a little flat today.”

The Belmont capped an entertaining Triple Crown highlighted by the disqualification of Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby. 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.

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