June 8 (UPI) -- Sir Winston wove through rivals in the stretch run in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, rallied to the lead in the late going and won by 1 length over the favorite, Tacitus, as the three legs of the 2019 Triple Crown went to three different horses this year.
Trainer Mark Casse, however, saddled two of them -- Sir Winston and Preakness Stakes winner War of Will, who wilted to finish ninth in the Belmont. Country House, the Kentucky Derby winner after the disqualification of Maximum Security, is trained by Bill Mott.
Sir Winston, a son of Awesome Again and named for Winston Churchill, went to the post at odds of 10-1. His only two previous victories came over the all-weather track at Woodbine, near Toronto, and he fell off the Kentucky Derby trail after running seventh in the Grade II Blue Grass at Keenland. He returned to the races, running second in the Grade III Peter Pan at Belmont on May 11.
The difference between Sir Winston and Tacitus in the Belmont was the trip. Jockey Joel Rosario took Sir Winston right over to the rail after starting the 1 1/2-miles journey from gate No. 7. Tacitus, under Jose Ortiz, was hung wide through the entire race from his outside post in the 10-horse field.
Turning for home, Sir Winston advanced right up the rail, swung out in front of his tiring stablemate, War of Will, to find running room and scampered home first. Tacitus closed with a good late move, but could not make up the lost ground. Pacesetter Joevia held on for third.
Rosario said he learned from riding Sir Winston for the first time in the Peter Pan, "You just have to let him do his thing. ... He felt like he didn't mind to be inside."
Casse seemed at a loss for words when interviewed on the track after watching his "second horse" win the race known as "The Test of the Champion."
"I said all week long he was doing well," Casse said. "And he had a race over the track.
"I saw Joel cut the corner a little bit [on the stretch turn], and I could see War of Will was struggling," the trainer added. "So I started 'riding' Sir Winston."
War of Will took the worst of the interference in the Kentucky Derby, tangling legs with Maximum Security when the latter cut in front of him. He found himself in a similar spot as Sir Winston shifted out for room at almost the same point in the Belmont. Unlike at Churchill Downs, there was no inquiry and no objection.
Sir Winston was bred by his owner, Tracy Farmer, a lifelong force in American racing. His dam is La Gran Bailadora, by Afleet Alex.