Drosselmeyer was finally able to fulfill the promise that many had expected from him, wearing down pace-setter First Dude and holding off Fly Down to capture the 142nd running of the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Belmont Stakes by a length.
“He’s one-paced. You gotta keep peddling,” said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who won his first Belmont in his 13th try aboard the 13-to-1 long shot. “What a heart. I’ve ridden here most of my career. This is the one race that eluded me. To finally win this one is unbelievable.”
In their last start in the Grade 2 Dwyer, Fly Down was able to romp to a six-length victory over Drosselmeyer, who broke slow as the odds-on favorite at 3-to-5 in that race. The top two finishers today were the only horses coming into the race having run at Belmont in their last start.
“He always keeps coming. He’s been close going a mile-and-an-eighth,” said Drosselmeyer’s trainer Bill Mott, also a Hall of Famer, who notched his first win in a Triple Crown race. “He got a nice smooth trip today and was able to circle horses and keep his momentum going and keep running. It was nice to see him moving leaving the 3/8 pole. I asked Mike to have him in the race at the quarter pole and I figured at that point not many horses were going to be making a run at him.”
Drosselmeyer’s owners, WinStar Farm, continued their remarkable run in 2010 after having won the Kentucky Derby with Super Saver. The win moved Drosselmeyer’s career earnings over $800,000 and he has now finished in the money in eight of his nine lifetime starts.
“We’ve always believed in him. Elliott (Walden) and Bill (Casner) mapped out a great plan,” said WinStar president Doug Cauthen. “Mike put a great ride on him. We are so blessed and we thank God and everybody from WinStar. We’re so grateful and thankful to be here.”
It was thought that the Belmont would be a wide-open betting race, but Ice Box, who finished eighth, was bet down to the prohibitive 9-to-5 favorite off his impressive second place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
“(I’m) disappointed in Ice Box. He was a little bit apprehensive,” said trainer Nick Zito, who also trains Fly Down. “I guess he left his race somewhere. He didn’t run. He’s much better than that.”
First Dude was able to run the first half of the race in a slow 49 seconds and the first ¾ in an even slower 1:15, but he was under the whip at the top of the stretch and battled valiantly through the lane. He suffered the same fate approaching the wire as he did in the Preakness, getting worn down late by runners coming from off the pace.
Game on Dude challenged First Dude at the top of the stretch, but couldn’t get by and ended up settling for fourth.
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