- Neelys Landing man shot, killed by highway patrol trooper after traffic stop (05/01/16)43
- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)49
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)8
- River Ridge Winery changes hands (05/02/16)
- Police report filed, but no charges in incident at Cape Central (04/29/16)40
- 2016 All-Missourian Boys Basketball (04/29/16)
- Statement: Man says cops’ good work drove him to grow his own marijuana (05/01/16)1
- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
- Hopper Road to close for months during construction of Veterans Drive (04/27/16)9
Jara takes Jazil from last to first for victory
The jockey, trainer (McLaughlin) and owner (Sheik Hamdan) had not previously won a Triple Crown race.
NEW YORK -- For a few minutes, thoroughbred racing escaped the shadow of Barbaro.
Jazil dazzled in the $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, winning the final leg of the Triple Crown over a lackluster field missing the injured Kentucky Derby winner as well as Preakness winner Bernardini.
But in the 2 minutes, 27.86 seconds it took to cover the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, Jazil gave the cheering fans a chance to forget about Barbaro's horrifying breakdown three weeks ago in the Preakness.
The 3-year-old colt Jazil was given a superb ride by 18-year-old Panamanian jockey Fernando Jara, who steadily rallied Jazil from last-to-first for a 1 1/4-length victory over Bluegrass Cat.
"You don't know how I feel right now," Jara said, who started riding in the United States two years ago. "This is amazing."
Jara not only won his first Triple Crown race, but also helped a few prominent names in racing win theirs -- trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Dubai Sheik Hamdan, who operates Shadwell Stable.
"It is very hard to describe my feeling," said McLaughlin, who trained for Sheik Hamdan in Dubai for nearly 10 years before returning home three years ago. "The people at Shadwell have been my biggest supporters for the last 12 years. It's great to win this race for your favorite people."
The win gave the sheiks of Dubai a second straight win in a classic. Bernardini is owned by Sheik Mohammed's Darley Stable.
Jazil wove his way through the tightly packed 12-horse field, and Jara angled his bay colt to the outside for the stretch run.
"When he made the lead, I started looking for the wire," McLaughlin said. "But when you make the lead and no one's gaining on you, it's a good feeling."
This Belmont marked the third time in 36 years that the Derby and Preakness winners missed the race, and relegated it to more of a test of the leftovers than its usual reference as the "Test of the Champion."
But McLaughlin and Jara will take the victory, which came five weeks after Jazil finished in a dead heat for fourth with Brother Derek in the Derby.
Jazil was held out of the Preakness and became the fourth horse in the last seven years to run in the Derby, skip the Preakness and win the Belmont. The others were Birdstone in 2004, Empire Maker in 2003 and Commendable in 2000.
Jazil returned $14.40, $6.70 and $4.70.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had the second and third-place finishers. Bluegrass Cat paid $6.40 and $4.70, while Sunriver paid $6.10.
Pletcher, the nation's top trainer, is now 0-for-21 in Triple Crown races.
"If it were anyone besides me, I was rooting for Kiaran," said Pletcher, who like McLaughlin was a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "He is one of my best friends, a great person, and I am very, very happy for him. I am disappointed. There is no consolation in second for me."
Jazil came into the Belmont with only a maiden victory last year, and was 0-for-4 this year. But the colt picked a good time to win one of racing's biggest events, even without Barbaro and Bernardini in the field.
Barbaro, the brilliant 3-year-old hailed as a Triple Crown threat after his dominating 6 1/2-length victory in the Derby, shattered three bones in his right hind leg at the start of the Preakness. All day, the crowd of 61,168 had the opportunity to sign a giant get-well card that will be sent to the hospital in Pennsylvania where Barbaro has been recovering.
Bernardini, who took the Preakness by 5 1/4 lengths, was back at his Belmont barn after Sheik Mohammed decided to rest the colt for a summer campaign that will include the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August.
That left the Belmont with the also-rans -- five horses from the Derby, two from the Preakness and five in their first Triple Crown race. It was a far cry from six of the last nine years, when there were Triple ties on the line and record crowds showing up only to be disappointed each time.
Under sunny skies and gusty winds, Bob and John went off as the slight favorite at 9-2. The colt trained by Bob Baffert took the lead and held it for the first mile before Bluegrass Cat and eventually Jazil ranged into contention around the turn.
Steppenwolfer made his usual late run to finish fourth, followed by Oh So Awesome, Hemingway's Key, Platinum Couple, Bob and John, Sacred Light, High Finance, Deputy Glitters and Double Galore, who was pulled up but finished the race.
With the victory, his second in eight career starts, Jazil earned $600,000 to boost his bankroll to $872,217.
Although the race had an exciting finish, the end of the Triple Crown series will be remembered more for who wasn't in the Belmont than who was.
The Triple Crown season fell apart with Barbaro's horrifying breakdown. It had racing fans caring less about the Belmont and more about the brilliant colt's chances of survival in the buildup to the Belmont. Positive daily updates on Barbaro's health buoyed the racing world, and ABC/ESPN had live reports on Barbaro from the University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals in Kennett Square, Pa.