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The 2019 Belmont Festival of Racing did not disappoint. A fun-filled three days of racing gave us plenty to talk about as we move into the summer months of racing, including another long shot winning the final leg of the Triple Crown. Let’s take a look at the three stars that shined brightest amongst a plethora of talented horses.
Many pundits declared the Ruhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1) to be the race of the year leading up to the event. It turns out they were right, with several of the top horses in the race putting up solid efforts. In the end, trainer Steve Asmussen was able to win the race for the second straight year, this year with the amazing Mitole. After sitting behind a hot-pace setting Coal Front, Mitole put a head in front at the top of the lane, with superstars McKinzie and Thunder Snow looming large. Both of those horses made moves on the front-runner; however, they could not make up enough ground to get past the eventual winner. The win gives him back to back Grade 1 victories, while also opening the door to a variety of races around the country this year.
He once again showed why he is currently ranked as the #1 horse in the country. This time, he turned the Manhattan Stakes (G1) into a laugher, with the race never being in doubt as the horses turned for home. Bricks and Mortar sat the perfect trip up the back-side, sitting in mid-pack, while waiting patiently to make his move. At the top of the stretch he was let go, simply dominating his rivals down the lane for his easiest victory of his season. Despite all the great performances this weekend, he will likely remain number one in the NTRA rankings, with this being his fourth straight stakes victory. He still has several big races to shoot for this summer as well, which should only further his already lofty resume.
The turf bullet kept it rolling on Saturday with yet another victory. World of Trouble did his usual in the Jaipur Invitational Stakes (G1), shooting to the front right out of the gate. The Jason Servis trained colt set swift fractions up front, while 2-time Jaipur winner Disco Partner loomed large late at the top of the lane, as well as the Peter Miller trained Om. However, neither of these fast-closing horses could run the talented World of Trouble down, as he won the race by a little over a length. He might be the best sprinter in the country, regardless of surface, which is something very rare in horse racing. A horse like this gives his connections several different options, with nearly every big turf and dirt sprint in the country on the table as we head into the summer.
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