GENERAL NEWS

Dornoch wins the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga, beating Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners

Jun 8, 2024, 4:28 PM

Dornoch, (6), with Luis Saez up, crosses the finish line ahead of Mindframe (10), with Irad Ortiz J...

Dornoch, (6), with Luis Saez up, crosses the finish line ahead of Mindframe (10), with Irad Ortiz Jr. up, to win the 156th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 8, 2024, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Dornoch pulled off a major upset to take the first Belmont Stakes at Saratoga, hugging the rail and holding off Mindframe to win the Triple Crown finale at odds of 17-1.

The horse co-owned by World Series champion Jayson Werth won the Belmont five weeks after a troubled trip led to a 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. This time, Dornoch sat off leader Seize the Grey, passed the Preakness winner down the stretch and held on.

It’s the first win in any Triple Crown for trainer Danny Gargan and the second in the Belmont for jockey Luis Saez.

“He’s one of the top 3-year-olds in the country, and we’ve always thought it,” Gargan said. “We let him run his race and he won. If he gets to run, he’s always going to be tough to beat.

It’s the sixth consecutive year a different horse won each of the three Triple Crown races. Sierra Leone, the Derby runner-up who went off as the favorite, was third and Honor Marie fourth.

“When I rode this horse here in Saratoga for the first time (July 29), I told Danny, ‘You have the Derby winner,’” Saez said. “Unfortunately, the Derby’s a crazy race and we draw that No. 1 hole. Today, we have pretty good confidence that we could win this race.”

Despite there not being a Triple Crown on the line, it’s a historic Belmont because the race was run at Saratoga for the first time in the venue’s 161-year history. It returns next year while Belmont Park undergoes a massive, $455 reconstruction with the plan for the Triple Crown to return to the New York track in 2026.

The Belmont was run at the venerable track in Saratoga Springs for the first time in its 161-year history. Saratoga has become a summer horse racing oasis and was the natural choice for where to move the Triple Crown finale in 2024 and ’25 while Belmont Park in New York undergoes a massive $455 million reconstruction project.

Having it at Saratoga necessitated shortening the race to 1 1/4 miles from the usual “test of the champion 1 1/2-mile distance that has been a hallmark of the Belmont for nearly a century. The temporary change contributed to getting more quality horses into the field who previously ran in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or both.

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