NEW YORK: Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher had easy recommendation Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earlier than the Belmont Stakes.
“Be affected person,” Pletcher mentioned. “I feel you have got the perfect final quarter of any horse within the race.”
Generally, much less is Mo.
Mo Donegal pulled away down the house stretch and held off filly Nest to win the Belmont Stakes, giving Pletcher a 1-2 end and his sixth Triple Crown victory, together with 4 at this monitor on the outskirts of New York Metropolis.
“To be sincere with you, we have been a bit of assured going into the race as we speak,” Donegal Racing CEO and co-owner Jerry Crawford mentioned. “When he turned for residence, I used to be like, overlook about it. I do know Todd thought he might get a powerful final quarter mile, and he certainly did.”
Wealthy Strike, a surprising Kentucky Derby winner at 80-to-1 odds, was sixth.
Mo Donegal rounded the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2 minutes, 28.28 seconds, three lengths forward of Nest — ridden by Ortiz’s brother, Jose. Pletcher, who lives on Lengthy Island, provides one other Belmont title following wins with Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013 and Tapwrit in 2017.
Mo Donegal beat an eight-horse area with no clear favourite. We the Folks, a monster within the mud, opened at 2 to 1 amid a wet forecast however reached 7 to 2 by race time as showers held off.
Mo Donegal entered the gate the betting favourite at 5 to 2. We the Folks led for a lot of the race, however Mo Donegal and Ortiz took cost popping out of the ultimate flip.
The three-year-old colt paid $7.20, $3.80 and $3. Nest — who almost turned Pletcher’s second filly to win Belmont after Rags to Riches — paid $5.30 and $4.10. Skippylongstocking was third and returned $5.60 to indicate. We the Folks completed fourth.
Wealthy Striker proprietor Rick Dawson and coach Eric Reed held the Kentucky Derby winner out of the Preakness with a watch on Belmont, the primary wholesome horse to skip Pimlico after successful the Triple Crown’s first even since 1985.
Reed mentioned the workforce inspired jockey Sonny Leon to attempt pushing Wealthy Strike from the skin, however the horse saved attempting to get again inside — the place he made a late cost previous 19 horse to win at Churchill Downs. Wealthy Strike spent a lot of the race in final place and could not get better.
“I feel we simply made a tactical error,” Reed mentioned.
Similar to Wealthy Strike, Mo Donegal was behind the pack on the Derby, however the colt didn’t have sufficient kick at Churchill Downs. He discovered it Saturday, successful the 154th operating of the $1.5 million race.
Mo Donegal made a winner out of co-owner Mike Repole, a neighborhood entrepreneur recognized across the monitor as “Mike from Queens.” Repole additionally co-owns Nest.
“That is New York’s largest race and to win it right here, with my household and associates and 70 folks right here, this will likely be a giant winner’s circle,” he mentioned.
It’s the fourth straight yr the Triple Crown contests have been received by three completely different horses, a primary for the game since 1926-29.
The race marked a return to kind for Belmont itself after the 2020 Stakes have been closed to the general public because of the pandemic and the 2021 occasion was restricted to 11,238 spectators by virus restrictions.
Capability was capped once more, this time at 50,000, due to congestion considerations stemming from the newly constructed area subsequent door for the NHL’s New York Islanders. Nonetheless, followers crammed into vehicles on the Lengthy Island Rail Street and breathed life into the 117-year-old monitor with floral headwear, pastel fits and the unmistakable musk of booze and cigars.
The reported attendance of 46,103 fell far wanting the grounds document 120,139 set in 2004. Not a lot of a shock, given the shaky climate forecast and the dearth of a Triple Crown contender.
The sector was sparse, too. No horse ran all three Triple Crown legs this yr, heightening concern that three races in 5 weeks could also be too tight a schedule to maintain the horses wholesome.
Preakness winner Early Voting was sidelined, more likely to put together for the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 27. Epicenter, the runner-up on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, additionally skipped.
Within the $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies, Matareya romped to a 6 1/4-length victory. Favourite Echo Zulu scratched on the submit on the recommendation of the monitor veterinarian.
Skilled by Brad Cox and ridden by Flavien Prat, Matareya ($2.60) ran the mile in 1:35.77, successful for the fifth time in eight profession begins.
Closely favored Flightline acquired off a step sluggish, overcame an early visitors problem and cruised to a six-length victory within the $1 million Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Mile.
The victory saved the 4-year-old Tapit colt undefeated in 4 profession begins. This was the primary one he didn’t win by double-digit lengths. Flightline ($2.90) was additionally ridden by Prat and skilled by John Sadler.