Creator made a brilliant charge down the stretch to edge past Destin by a nose at the wire and win the 148th Belmont Stakes on Saturday, the final leg of U.S. racing's Triple Crown series for three-year-olds.
Joining in a thrilling finish was hard-charging, Japanese-based Lani, who finished third in the 1 1/2 mile (2.4 km) race, one lap around the massive Belmont Park track in Elmont, New York.
Creator, winner of the Arkansas Derby, came from 12th place in the 13-horse field, hugging the rail as jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. saved ground around the final turn before exploding through a tight gap and moving out in the straight to win the $1.5 million race.
"He was coming," Ortiz told NBC while still on the horse. "When he got clear, he started running. I know he passed the horse (Destin)," he said.
"It's an amazing feeling. It's very, very important for me," Ortiz added, pumping his fist and patting his heart as his voice broke with emotion.
Creator, a 16/1 chance, paid $34.80, $14.60, $9.40 for a $2 bet. Destin paid $9.40, $6.20, while Lani returned $6.60.
Exaggerator, the 6/5 favorite, faded down the stretch to finish 11th, 14 3/4 lengths back, as jockey Kent Desormeaux eased his horse once it became obvious his race was run.
The result meant three different winners in the Triple Crown series as Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby, and Derby runner-up Exaggerator triumphed in the Preakness Stakes.