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 1/2 mile Belmont.
Instead, Casse's other 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.