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Jun 16, 2006

Jazil captures 138th Belmont Stakes


Elmont, NY (Sports Network) - Jazil, ridden by Fernando Jara, held off morning line favorite Bluegrass Cat to capture the 138th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.

With Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro recovering from a career-ending injury suffered in the first few yards of the Preakness, and Preakness winner Bernardini resting, there were three co-favorites when the 12-horse field left the starting gate. Bob and John, Steppenwolfer and Bluegrass Cat were all 9-2 on the tote board.

The pace in the 1 1/2-mile was set by Bob and John followed closely by Deputy Glitters and High Finance. Early in the race Jazil was just a few lengths off the pace.

Up the backstretch Bob and John, under jockey Garrett Gomez, remained on the lead as he was challenged by High Finance. Nearing the final turn, the rest of the field began to draw closer to the leaders.

Around the turn for home, Bluegrass Cat and Jazil were moving on the outside from off the pace. At the top of the stretch, Jazil took the lead with Bluegrass Cat close behind.

Down stretch Jazil maintained his lead over Bluegrass Cat and hit the wire 1 1/2 lengths to the good. Jazil stopped the timer at 2:27.86 on a fast track.

Just as he did in the Kentucky Derby, Bluegrass Cat finished second followed by Peter Pan Stakes winner Sunriver, Kentucky Derby third place horse Steppenwolfer, Oh So Awesome, Hemingway's Key, Platinum Couple, Bob and John, Sacred Light, High Finance, Deputy Glitters and Double Galore.

Owned by Shadwell Farm, Jazil was coming out of the Kentucky Derby where he finished in a dead-heat for fourth with Brother Derek. The three-year-old was held out of the Preakness Stakes by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

"It was a great atmosphere to win a Grade 1 with such a well-bred horse with such key people," McLaughlin said. "It's a great win and I'll never forget it. As long as I live, it was a great win. Sorry that we weren't going for a Triple Crown."

The Belmont Stakes win was worth $600,000 and brings Jazil's career earnings to $872,217. He had finished second to Bob and John in the Wood Memorial in April. Jazil recorded only his second lifetime victory in eight starts.

Jara is an 18-year-old native of Panama who has been aboard the colt for six of the eight starts.

"I feel great," Jara said. "You have no idea how I feel right now. When I was a kid and I saw the race. I said one day I'm gonna be there. Now I win the race."

Jazil returned $14.40, $6.70 and $4.70. Bluegrass Cat paid $6.40 and $4.70, and Sunriver paid $6.10 for show.

This year's Belmont Stakes marked the first time since 2000 that neither winner of the first two Triple Crown races participated. Six years ago was also the last time there were three different winners in the Triple Crown series.

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