06/09/2011 5:57PM

Top Belmont Stakes rides: No. 6

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6. Bill Shoemaker, Avatar, 1975

This was Shoemaker’s final Belmont Stakes victory, and it required all his horsemanship to guide Avatar to a hard-fought victory over Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure and Preakness winner Master Derby. After restraining Avatar early, Shoemaker steered the son of Graustark to a wide trip on the best part of the racing surface before taking over from Master Derby in the upper stretch. Shoemaker had his hands full during the last furlong keeping his sometimes lazy racehorse at full throttle to hold off fast-closing Foolish Pleasure for a narrow victory. Foolish Pleasure may have been the best horse in this Belmont, but Shoemaker did not allow his mount to lose.

5. Chris Antley, Charismatic, 1999 >>