Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) winning the Gr.1 Belmont Stakes

Uncle Mo’s Mo Donegal Much The Best in G1 Belmont Stakes

It was a second U.S. classic winner for Uncle Mo on Saturday when Mo Donegal (3c Uncle Mo x Callingmissbrown, by Pulpit) proved to be much the best in the Grade I Belmont Stakes.

One of the favorites in the 1 ½ mile race, Mo Donegal was happy to race near the back of the field a few paths from the rail, giving him a clear run when he was ready for it. That advantage came around the turn as the field hit the quarter pole.

Mo Donegal didn’t stay behind the leaders for long, quickly taking over just a few strides into the stretch and pulling away from there. Nest was the only threat to him but even that threat wasn’t a serious one with Mo Donegal pulling away to win by three lengths with the third placed horse over six lengths behind the winner.

“It’s very special. I’ve been working with him all winter,” jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said. “They kept putting me on and he kept getting better. I liked him every time I got on him. We were positive on him. Thank you to Jerry Crawford, Mike and Todd for letting me ride this horse. They were positive on this horse from Day 1 and I’m so happy for them”

Raced by Donegal Racing and Repole Stable, this is the third graded stakes victory for the Todd Pletcher-trained Mo Donegal. The colt won the Grade II Remsen Stakes as a juvenile and the Grade II Wood Memorial in addition to the Belmont this year. He was also fifth – just over four lengths behind the winner – in the Grade I Kentucky Derby last out.

A $250,000 Keeneland September buy by Donegal Racing from co-breeder Ashview Farm, Ashview is joined by Colts Neck Stable as breeders of the colt. That partnership also bred Belmont Stakes runner-up Nest, who is also trained by Pletcher for a group that includes Repole Stable. Mo Donegal has now won four of his seven starts with just one off-the-board finish.

One of two winners from two to race out of Callingmissbrown, Mo Donegal is a grandson of Island Sand, who won her own Grade I in the Acorn Stakes at Belmont. Island Sounds also produced the dual Grade I-placed Maya Malibu and stakes-placed Midnite Poppa.

Island Sand is a half-sister to Mexican juvenile champion Pozo de Lune and out of a half-sister to the Canadian classic winner Niigon.

Also the sire of the OBS June Sale topper earlier this week and a TDN Rising Star on Friday, Uncle Mo is now the sire of 11 Grade I winners with at least one hailing from each of his seven crops 3 years and older. Mo Donegal joins Nyquist as classic winners for the leading sire.