With the blessings of five doctors, the prayers of three orders of nuns, and the genes of his famous father, Risen Star claimed the triumph of "10 lifetimes."
Risen Star captured the Belmont Stakes Saturday afternoon in 2:26.2, a time topped only by his father, Secretariat, who ran 2:24 in 1973. The Preakness winner, under Eddie Delahoussaye, took his second straight Triple Crown jewel after ignoring a lingering ankle injury that prompted trainer Louis Roussel to fly in a fourth and fifth veterinarian for last-minute examinations and treatments."He ran his best race for you today," Roussel said after Risen Star left behind Winning Colors, the filly who won the Kentucky Derby, in last place.
"And I'm glad he did. I think it'll put an end to the controversy that this horse should have won the Triple Crown."
Risen Star won the Preakness after benefitting from a speed duel between Winning Colors and Forty Niner.
"I told a few people who would listen that this is a great horse," said Roussel, a co-owner. "I'm here because of Risen Star. He's carried me all the way.
"This is not only a once in a lifetime thing - the Belmont - for me, it's once in 10 lifetimes.
"A horse like this comes once in 10 lifetimes. My father and I have been in business over 20 years, there've been a lot of heartaches, and we've been very blessed to have the opportunity to be with this horse."
Risen Star beat Kingpost by 14 3-4 lengths, with Brian's Time two more lengths back. The margin of victory was the fourth largest in Belmont history as Risen Star became the first Secretariat colt to win two legs of the Triple Crown.
"I said it the other day, I said it a year ago, I said it six months ago," co-owner Ronnie Lamarque boasted, "this horse is the closest thing to Secretariat I've ever seen.
"He has his heart, his speed, his agility. I was really thinking and hoping he could do everything possible not to break Secretariat's record, but to finish second."