Mott's 13-1 shot wins Belmont
By Richard Rosenblatt
NEW YORK — Drosselmeyer finally got a shot in a Triple Crown race and it paid off with an upset in the $1 million Belmont Stakes.
Left out of the Kentucky Derby because he hadn't earned enough money to qualify, Drosselmeyer staged a stirring stretch run and beat Fly Down by three-quarters of a length yesterday in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
With neither Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver nor Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky in the field, the 1 1/2-mile Belmont looked to be a matchup of classic runner-ups — Ice Box from the Derby vs. First Dude from the Preakness.
First Dude took the lead from the start, but couldn't hold off Drosselmeyer in the stretch and finished third. Ice Box, the 9-5 favorite trained by Nick Zito, was never in contention and finished ninth in the 12-horse field. Fly Down, also trained by Zito, was the second choice at 5-1.
The victory not only reaffirmed Drosselmeyer's talent after failing to win in his past three starts, it also produced a few firsts for a pair of Hall of Famers.
Jockey Mike Smith ended his 0 for 12 record in the Belmont, and trainer Bill Mott won his first Triple Crown race.
"It all came together," said Mott, best known as the trainer of the great Cigar in 1995-96. "I think it was just a matter of time with some of the good horses I get to train that it was going to happen."
One reason it happened may be a jockey switch to Smith from Kent Desormeaux.
"I felt like the horse needed a little change in routine," said WinStar Farm racing manager Elliott Walden. "We went to Mike because we felt he would get him in a rhythm and keep him running."