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Mo Donegal finishes 1st at Belmont, another Pletcher win

Mo Donegal ended up the betting favorite at 5 to 2. We the People led for much of the race, but Mo Donegal took charge coming out of the final turn.
Credit: AP
Mo Donegal (6), with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. up, crosses the finish line to win the 154th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 11, 2022, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK — Mo Donegal finished first and filly Nest was second, giving trainer Todd Pletcher a 1-2 finish at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday for his sixth victory in the Triple Crown race.

Donegal rounded the 1 1/2-mile track in 2 minutes, 28.28 seconds, ahead of Nest and Skippylongstocking.

Pletcher won the Belmont Stakes for the fourth time, following Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013 and Tapwrit in 2017.

Mo Donegal beat a wide-open, eight-horse field without a clear favorite — We the People, a monster in the mud, opened at 2 to 1 amid a rainy forecast but reached 7 to 2 by race time as showers held off.

Mo Donegal ended up the betting favorite at 5 to 2. We the People led for much of the race, but Mo Donegal took charge coming out of the final turn.

Rich Strike, a stunning Kentucky Derby winner at 80-to-1 odds, was sixth after owner Rick Dawson and trainer Eric Reed held him out of the Preakness with an eye on Belmont. Rich Strike was the first healthy Derby winner to skip Pimlico since 1985.

Rich Strike ran past 19 other horses in shocking fashion on May 7 to become the second biggest long shot to win the Derby. Even that took myriad factors to happen: sharp training at Churchill Downs the week before, the withdrawal of Ethereal Road to get into the field, a hot pace, the perfect trip and the kind of acceleration he had never shown before in a race.

Just like Rich Strike, Mo Donegal was at the back of the pack at the Derby, but the colt didn’t have enough kick at Churchill Downs. He found it Saturday, winning the 154th running of the $1.5 million race.

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