In a brilliant late surge, Creator won the 148th Belmont Stakes on Saturday, just minutes before a heavy rainstorm broke over the track, bringing the Triple Crown season to a soggy close.
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Trained by Steve Asmussen, Creator rallied from mid-pack in the stretch, squeezing between horses close to the rail, and beat Destin by a nose at the finish. The Japan-based Lani, one of only two in the 13-horse field to run in all three Triple Crown races, finished 1 3/4 lengths behind in third.
Creator, owned by Kentucky's WinStar Farm and celebrity chef Bobby Flay, had finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby.
Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator entered the race as the favorite, with odds of 6-5, but the grind of the Triple Crown trail appeared to finally take its toll, leaving him in 11th place.
"By the time we got to the eight pole, he was stepping on his tongue," said jockey Kent Desormeaux, who said neither the track surface nor the traffic could be blamed. "I couldn't have dreamt of a smoother ride."
For Creator, the win marked the first Belmont Stakes victory for both Asmussen and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. -- and a reaffirmation for the colt's sire Tapit, currently the leading sire in North America.
"He was calm, and I just waited for somewhere to go," Ortiz said. "When he got clear, he started running."
Creator covered the 1 1/2 -mile Belmont Stakes distance in 2:28:51 and paid $34.80 on a $2 win bet.