By Jeremy Balan
WinStar Farm and Bobby Flay's Creator needed every step of the 1 1/2 miles over Big Sandy to win the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (gr. I) June 11.
The gray son of Tapit split horses, surged in the final furlong, and nosed out Destin at the wire to win the third leg of the Triple Crown. Destin led every stride but the last from the top of the stretch to the wire, as Creator found just enough under Irad Ortiz Jr. to win for trainer Steve Asmussen.
WinStar and Asmussen stablemate Gettysburg set the pace, clicking off fractions of :24.09, :48.48, and 1:13.38 through six furlongs, but Destin cruised by in the final turn and opened up a clear advantage in the lane.
Creator and Lani loomed a closing danger as Destin sought the wire late, but Creator found just enough, finishing off the 1 1/2 miles in 2:28.51. Lani held for third, another 1 1/2 lengths back, and Governor Malibu completed the superfecta in fourth.
Exaggerator, up closer stakling the pace than his Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) runs and wide throughout, didn't threaten in the stretch and was eased by jockey Kent Desormeaux in the final furlong to finish 11th.
Creator, who finished 13th in the Derby after a troubled trip, paid $34.80 to win.