Sir Winston powers way to Belmont Stakes victory

New York (AFP) –


Sir Winston held off the favorites by weaving through traffic from the inside rail to capture the 151st Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday.

Sir Winston, ridden by Joel Rosario, at one point was hard on the rail but then made a wide move to the outside followed by a storming charge to the finish line. The winning time at Belmont Park was two minutes, 28.30 seconds.

Sir Winston, a 10-1 longshot, won for the third time in 10 career starts, beating out runner-up and pre-race favorite Tacitus and third place Joevia. Tax was fourth.

"He is a nice horse and I let him do his thing. I am very happy," said Rosario.

The Belmont Stakes comes five weeks after this year's controversial Kentucky Derby which was won by Country House after Maximum Security became the first horse in history to be disqualified from the iconic American race.

Country House, a 65-1 underdog in the Derby, did not race on Saturday due to a virus.

The win at Belmont Park capped a remarkable month for trainer Mark Casse, who had waited more than 30 years for his first win in a Triple Crown race before War of Will powered to victory in the Preakness last month.

War of Will, one of the favorites in the starting gate on Saturday, finished in ninth place.

Sir Winston's victory run included passing just in front of War of Will to take the lead in the 1 1/2 mile race.

Joevia made good use of his No. 1 post position nearly going wire to wire before being passed by Sir Winston.

Tacitus kept in contention by staying in the middle of the pack until the leaders rounded the final turn.

Sir Winston also had a runner-up finish at Belmont Park last month in the Peter Pan Stakes.