Mark Casse does it again with Sir Winston

By Jason Gonzalez Contributing Writer

The streak of bizarre occurrences in thoroughbred horse racing during its illustrious triple crown season remained intact. A crowd of 56,217 was present at Belmont Park to witness the unusual event that transpired.  

For the second time in less than a month, esteemed trainer Mark Casse captured another classic win. However, it wasn’t Preakness winner War of Will that crossed the finish line first this past Saturday at the Belmont Stakes. But instead it was Sir Winston that did.

And now, after claiming 2/3 of the triple crown [Preakness & Belmont Stakes], Casse joins future hall-of-fame trainer Todd Pletcher as being the only handlers to win separate legs of the triple crown with different horses in the same racing season. Two years ago, Pletcher had Always Dreaming running in the Kentucky Derby and Tapwrit competing in the Preakness.

“I could see War of Will was struggling a little bit,” Casse expressed. “He looked like he was maybe a little flat today. I saw [Sir Winston jockey] Joel [Rosario] cut the corner a little bit. I could see where War of Will was getting wary. I went to riding Sir Winston. It’s tough to do because you have two horses, and I love War of Will as well.”

Sir Winston who was ridden by jockey Joel Rosario, ran to a 10-1 upset after completing the 1-½ mile race by one length at 2:28.30. The winner was then followed home by the betting favorite Tacitus [2nd], with Joevia and Tax rounding out the board at third and fourth.

Evidently the hustle and bustle of the Triple Crown grind that War of Will endured during the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes apparently got the best of him. War of Will was the only horse to run in all three races this year. Just In case you were wondering, War of Will finished ninth in this recent 10-horse field.

“He’s a very nice horse,” said Rosario regarding his victory in the final leg of the triple crown. “You just have to let him do his thing. I’m really happy. It seemed like he didn’t mind being inside [Sir Winston ran out of the 7th post [position]. I just took my time with him. For the distance, he broke very good. Today, he was a little closer, so I let him be where he was comfortable.”

Credit: NYRA

The Belmont Stakes caps off a year highlighted by a disqualification in the Kentucky Derby and a jockey-less horse in the Preakness. The payouts for Sir Winston were $22.40, $8.80 and $6.10 [win, place, show]. Tacitus paid $3.90 and $3.20 [place and show] and Joevia paid $8.70 for coming in show in his classic debut.

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