Drosselmeyer Wins Belmont [Updated]

WinStar Farm's Drosselmeyer gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first win in a Triple Crown race, wearing down pacesetter First Dude and holding off a late charge from Fly Down for a 13-1 upset in the $1 million Belmont Stakes under Mike Smith June 5 at Belmont Park.

It was the first Belmont win in his 13th attempt for fellow Hall of Famer Smith, who guided the son of Distorted Humor to a three-quarters of a length score for his first stakes victory. The final time for the 1 1/2-mile third leg of the Triple Crown was 2:31.57 over a fast track. A crowd of 45,243 came out on a hot, steamy day in Elmont, N.Y., to watch the 142nd running of the race.

Drosselmeyer, who began his career racing on turf, was still eligible for a non-winners of two allowance race entering the Belmont. Fourth in the Risen Star and third in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, the chestnut colt fell short of the necessary graded earnings to make the May 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. Instead of racing in the May 15 Preakness, Mott decided to ship his charge to Belmont, where he finished a distant runner-up to Fly Down in the May 8 Dwyer Stakes.

But the 12-furlong Belmont suited Drosselmeyer better. He raced mid-pack in the field of 12 for much of the first mile, racing alongside Fly Down while First Dude set the pace as expected. First Dude outhustled Interactif to the first turn under Ramon Dominguez and led for nearly all of the grueling race. First Dude, the Preakness runner-up, took the field through splits of :24.15, :49.19, 1:14.94, and 1:40.25.

Interactif and Javier Castellano pressed the leader much of the way until tiring at the top of the lane, while Game On Dude was also close on the outside with Martin Garcia aboard and in contention until very late. Uptowncharlybrown was near the early pace as well.

Drosselmeyer slipped past Fly Down coming off the final turn and made his winning five-wide move into the lane while still chasing First Dude and Game On Dude. Dominguez was able to get all he could from the stubborn First Dude, who still led inside the sixteenth-pole. But Drosselmeyer continued to wear down the longtime leader and edged in front in deep stretch. Fly Down, challenging between horses under John Velazquez, was closing ground in the final strides but could not get to the winner.

Fly Down was a neck in front of third-place First Dude. Game On Dude was another 1 1/2 lengths back in fourth. Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box, the 9-5 favorite, was never a factor while finishing ninth. Like Fly Down, he is trained by Nick Zito, who was seeking his third Belmont victory.

Drosselmeyer won for the third time in nine starts. He broke his maiden at third asking last November at Churchill Downs going one mile in his dirt debut, then won his first start as a 3-year-old in a January allowance race at Gulfstream Park at nine furlongs.

The winner, bred in Kentucky by Aaron U. Jones and Marie D. Jones, is out of the Moscow Ballet mare Golden Ballet. A $600,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland 2008 September yearling sale, he was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. He has now earned $801,170 for WinStar, who won the Derby last month with homebred Super Saver.

Uptowncharlybrown crossed the wire fifth, but after the race New York racing officials disqualified the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee due to a weight violation. The horse lost his lead weight pad during the race and failed to carry the required 126 pounds, resulting in an unplaced finish. Stay Put was moved up to fifth, followed by Interactif, Stately Victor, Ice Box, Make Music for Me, Dave In Dixie, and Spangled Star.

This story originally appeared on Bloodhorse.com.

About the Author

Jason Shandler

Jason Shandler is a staff writer for The Blood-Horse magazine.

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