Mo Donegal wins the Belmont Stakes

Mo Donegal is the winner of the 154th Belmont Stakes, the third and final race of the Triple Crown series, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

Mo Donegal and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.’s win marked the fourth win at Belmont for trainer Todd Pletcher and the first for Mike Repole, one of the owners of Mo Donegal and Nest, who took second in the race.

“This is a dream I’ve had for 40 years,” Repole said after Mo Donegal’s win.

Mo Donegal, We The People and Rich Strike were all top contenders going into the race.

The Triple Crown series for 3-year-old thoroughbreds got underway on May 7 with a bit of excitement as last-minute addition Rich Strike pulled off the second-largest upset in Kentucky Derby history and won despite his 80-1 odds.

Coming off that monumental win, Rich Strike’s owner Rick Dawson said the horse would not race in the Preakness Stakes, thus forgoing a shot a winning the coveted Triple Crown title, with the goal of winning in Elmont.

It was not to be: Rich Strike came in sixth on Saturday.

Rest was also a factor that went into the training of Early Voting, who won the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Md., on May 21. The horse did not run at either the Kentucky Derby or at Belmont. The team opted for more rest before other summer races with the end goal of preparing for the Travers Stakes, according to The Associated Press.

With an official distance of a mile-and-a-half, the Belmont Stakes is known as “The Test of the Champion.” It’s the longest of the three Triple Crown races and features just eight horses.

Mo Donegal previously finished fifth at the Kentucky Derby and did not race at the Preakness Stakes.

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