Mo Donegal Wins Belmont Stakes 2022
Mo Donegal won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, denying the Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike a second Triple Crown jewel. The son of Uncle Mo won the 154th running of the Test of the Champion by three lengths over second-place finisher and filly Nest.
It was a special moment for Mike Repole, a New Yorker, who co-owns Mo Donegal and Nest.
Mo Donegal was a 5-2 favorite at the post time.
Skippylongstocking finished third in the eight-horse race.
Mo Donegal was piloted by three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr, who also won the 2016 Belmont Stakes with Creator.
The Puerto Rican jockey’s feat added another trophy to the Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. This is Pletcher’s fourth Belmont Stakes win.
Rich Strike Couldn’t Recreate Derby Magic
Rich Strike, the second-longest shot winner in Kentucky Derby history, could not recreate the magic on Saturday. Richard Dawson-owned horse fell behind the pack early and couldn’t make up the ground.
Rich Strike was ridden again by Sonny Leon, the Venezuela-born jockey who had thrilled racing fans with one of the most unbelievable wins at the Churchill Downs five weeks ago.
But the Belmont Stakes, the oldest and longest Triple Crown race, was an entirely different story. Mo Donegal, who rallied from 19th position to a decent fifth in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby, won the 1-½ mile race at the 2022 Belmont Stakes in front of nearly 46,000 on a cloudy Saturday in Elmont New York.
Mo Donegal paid $7.20 for a $2 bet and brought home an $800,000 for owners Donegal Racing.
What Happened on Saturday?
Mo Donegal entered the gate as a clear favorite at 5 to 2, though We the People led for much of the race. However, Mo Donegal surged past with a lightning pace at the final turn.
The three-year-old colt raced around the track in 2 minutes and 28.28 seconds, beating Nest, who finished in second. Nest paid $5.30 and $4.10 while Skippylongstocking was third and returned $5.60 to show.
We the People, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, entered Belmont as a heavy favorite. He finished fourth.
Mo Donegal is a three-time winner who took down the Wood Memorial last April, beating this year’s Preakness winner Early Voting and Skippylongstocking, who finished third this Saturday at Belmont.
After receiving the trophy from Gov. Kathy Hochul, the founder of Donegal Racing, said Saturday’s victory “shows the sport is more accessible to folks than they may realize.”
“You don’t have to spend millions and millions on horses,” Jerry Crawford added.
Repole, who enjoyed a one-two finish with Mo Donegal and the filly Nest, said the first-place is a dream “that I have had for 40 years” as a New Yorker at his local track.
No Triple Crown Was at Stake at this Belmont
Mo Donegal’s victory marks the fourth straight year that three different horses have won the three Triple Crown races. After Rich Strike surprised the horse racing world on May 7 at the historic Churchill Downs, the owners had decided not to participate in the Preakness Stakes – the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Early Voting, the winner of this year’s Preakness, also did not run for the Belmont for the same reason that made Rich Strike skip the Preakness.
The result was that three different horses picked each of the jewels of this year’s Triple Crown races. The last time this happened in four straight years was between 1926 and 1929.