Tapwrit paid $12.60 for his fourth win in eight starts after being timed in 2:30.02. Pletcher also won the 2017 Kentucky Derby with another horse- Always Dreaming.
The race was already missing Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming and Preakness champion Cloud Computing.
The one-eyed Patch, also trained by Pletcher, finished a distant third in the 11-horse field. Brother Irad Ortiz Jr rode Creator to an upset win past year. "With the five weeks in between the Derby and the Belmont, and with the way Tapwrit had trained, we felt like we had a legitimate chance".
The New York Racing Association surely hopes he runs on Saturday.
"When you make such a long trip with the horse, you need confidence in your horse", said Christophe Lemaire, his French jockey. "We still have time, so we will give him the best care we can". If they made a decision to bring the horse, it's because they think he's able to win.
Lookin At Lee will be the only horse to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown. The 58-year-old trainer has never raced in the US before. Irish War Cry inherited the role of favorite after Classic Empire was forced out earlier in the week with an abscess in his hoof. Epicharis hasn't run a race since finishing second on March 25 at the UAE Derby.
"The thing I would emphasize is that this is a routine process", Palmer said. "It's a tough race". Belmont Park's deep, sandy track and sweeping turns can wipe out a tiring horse and benefit a closer able to negotiate the long stretch. The on-call vet said Hollywood Handsome sustained a cut behind his left knee, and it would be closed with staples. The ground will be very different this weekend from the sloppy surface she ran on last time out, but she should go on the forecast fast ground and I expect her to be fighting out the finish.