Mo Donegal, the favorite at race time, rewarded the faith placed in him with a furious charge down the final stretch to win the 154th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
Most of the 1 1/2-mile race was led by We The People, the morning-line favorite with 2-1 odds. Bettors eventually moved that line to 4-1 by race time, and it turned out to be prescient. We The People started off strong out of the gate, followed closely by Skippylongstocking. That pair looked set for a thrilling finish, but neither had enough strength to hold off the hard-charging Mo Donegal and Nest, who overcame an early stumble to finish in second place. Mo Donegal's winning time was 2:28.28.
Here's a look at the race, via NBC Sports:
And here's the complete order of finish and payouts for the top-three horses.
Belmont Stakes Standings, Payouts
1. Mo Donegal: $7.20 $3.80 $3.00
2. Nest: x, $5.30, $4.10
3. Skippylongstocking: x, x, $5.60
4. We The People
5. Creative Minister
6. Rich Strike
7. Barber Road
8. Golden Glider
It's fitting that when Mo Donegal made his move to the outside, the filly Nest was right there with him. As it turns out, the two horses have plenty in common.
Mo Donegal was ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., while Jose Ortiz was atop Nest. Both had previously won the Belmont Stakes, with Ortiz Jr. winning it in 2016 and Ortiz taking down the field a year later. The trainer is Todd Pletcher, who has now led four horses to victory at Belmont Stakes to go along with two wins at the Kentucky Derby.
Rich Strike was looking to capture a second jewel of the Triple Crown after winning the Kentucky Derby as an 80-1 long shot. Despite sitting out the Preakness Stakes and having much better odds this time around (4-1 at race time), Rich Strike couldn't conjure up the same magic displayed at Churchill Downs. The Eric Reed trainee spent much of the race at the back of the pack and ended up in sixth place.
Skippylongstocking was something of a surprise with a third-place finish. The three-year-old thoroughbred was tied for the longest odds at 20-1 in the morning and probably wasn't expected to make much noise after finishing fifth at the Preakness Stakes. A good start went a long way, as Skippylongstocking had the energy to edge past We The People just before the finish line.