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Mo Donegal wins Belmont Stakes

By Homero De la Fuente and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Mo Donegal won the 154th running of the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York, on Saturday.

Mo Donegal was piloted by three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. Ortiz also won the 2016 Belmont Stakes with Creator.

“It’s very special, honestly,” Ortiz said after the race. “We (were) very positive.”

Racing in front of more than 46,000 people at the one-and-a-half mile track, Mo Donegal was a 5-2 favorite among the eight horses entering the race.

The horse raced around the track in 2 minutes and 28.28 seconds, comfortably beating out Nest, who finished in second and Skippylongstocking who finished in third.

With the victory, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher claimed his fourth Belmont Stakes victory.

After receiving the trophy from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Jerry Crawford, 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,” Crawford added.

Rich Strike, who stunned the horse racing world after winning the Kentucky Derby, finished in sixth place.

Early Voting, the winner of the Preakness Stakes, did not race Saturday.

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