Mo Donegal's Belmont Stakes win made extra special by Long Island connections

Mo Donegal's win in the 154th annual Belmont Stakes on Saturday felt extra special due to some connections his team has to Long Island.

News 12 Staff

Jun 12, 2022, 4:15 PM

Updated 673 days ago

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Mo Donegal's win in the 154th annual Belmont Stakes on Saturday felt extra special due to some connections his team has to Long Island.
His jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr., lives in Hempstead and his owner, Mike Repole, is from Queens but currently lives on the Island as well.
Trainer Todd Pletcher says he and the rest of the team are overjoyed that Mo Donegal won Saturday’s race.
“What was so cool about it for us was the connection,” Pletcher says. “Donegal had hundreds of people who were there, and the Repole family, Mike, is from Queens…This is the race he’s always dreamed of winning. To see the reaction from him and his family and the Donegal members, that’s what makes it fun for me.”
The fanfare and the excitement of winning was also emotional for Ortiz.
"It's an amazing feeling honestly," Ortiz says.
Ortiz says when he came around that second turn, he knew Mo Donegal wanted to win. His brother, Jose Ortiz, was riding Nest, the horse that came in second. He says this race was like living out a childhood dream.
"[It's] something I wanted to do so bad, growing up dreaming about. Thank God I'm here today. A dream come true," he enthused.
Mo Donegal’s next race will be the Travers Stakes in Saratoga.


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