Point Given Wins Belmont Stakes
NEW YORK (AP) _ Preakness winner Point Given, sometimes called a clown by trainer Bob Baffert because of his antics in the morning, won the Belmont Stakes in no-nonsense fashion Saturday, leaving eight rivals struggling in his wake.
Kentucky Derby-winner Monarchos finished third, behind A P Valentine.
Point Given, a strapping chestnut colt, moved into the lead early on the final turn and then turned the 1 1/2-mile Belmont into a one-horse show in the stretch.
His time of 2 minutes, 26 2-5 seconds tied him with Risen Star and Affirmed for the fourth fastest time in Belmont history.
Only Secretariat, Easy Goer and A P Indy ran faster.
A P Valentine’s second-place finish gave trainer Nick Zito his fifth runnerup finish in 11 Belmonts, with no victories. A P Valentine also was second in the Preakness.
``I’ll always wonder what could have been,″ said winning jockey Gary Stevens. ``This horse should have ‘Triple Crown Winner’ next to his name.″
Point Given, however, finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby as the favorite.
He rebounded from that race to win the Preakness and then dominated the Belmont, winning by 12 1/4 lengths, the seventh biggest margin in 133 Belmonts.
It had a bittersweet victory for Baffert. The white-haired trainer won his first Belmont in his fifth try, but two of those defeats were tough to take _ Silver Charm in 1997 and Real Quiet in 1998 finished second in their bids to become the 12th Triple Crown champion and first since Affirmed in 1978.
Point Given, favored in all three Triple Crown races, returned $4.70, $3.70 and $3. A P Valentine played $5 and $3.90, while Monarchos was $4.20 to show.