Horse Racing: 156th Belmont Stakes Recap



A look back at the exciting longshot win of Dornoch in the the 156th Belmont Stakes.

A review of the 156th Belmont Stakes

It’s been an exciting, albeit strange, horse racing season to date. The end of the Triple Crown season saw New York swap out one iconic venue in favor of another this past Saturday, and a third different horse put a ‘jewel’ on his belt (if you buy the premise that horses wear belts).

In what’s turned out to be a good-not-great crop of 3-year-olds who are going to take turns beating one another, a 17-1 (+1700) longshot named Dornoch surprised in the $2 million Belmont Stakes, held some 200 due north at Saratoga Race Course.

Belmot Stekes recapDornoch, a son of Good Magic trained by Danny Gargan and ridden by Luis Saez (his second Belmont), deserved this win. He pressed Preakness winner Seize the Grey (Jaime Torres) down the backside, then put that rival away. Next was the lightly-raced Mindframe (Irad Ortiz Jr.), whose wandering ways through the stretch may have cost him. Dornoch took the straight line to victory, winning by a half-length in 2:01.64.

That final time is not a typo, as the Belmont-this season and next-has been cut back in distance to a mile-and-a-quarter (10 furlongs). That’s because with Belmont Park under renovation, this race was summarily moved to Saratoga Race Course.

As such, and in deference to the mile-and-an-eighth circumference of the Saratoga oval, the decision was made to shorten the 2024 and ‘25 Belmont Stakes by a quarter-mile.

Back to Dornoch and his $37.60 win mutuel. Sierra Leone, the 17-10 (+170) favorite, was third after some bumping with Mindframe at the start. Meanwhile, Mystik Dan (Brian Hernandez Jr.), surprise winner of the Kentucky Derby, did not factor here, having finished eighth. Seize the Grey, as was mentioned above, could not replicate his successful start-to-finish tactics of Preakness. He was seventh.

This was the sixth consecutive Triple Crown where a different horse won each race (18 overall).

Belmont Stakes-at-Saratoga, highlight of a four-day festival of racing, turned out to be a boon at the betting windows and with the local businesses.

Werth the Weight

There have always been high-profile owners in horse racing, so former All-Star and World Series winner Jayson Werth is not unique. As a partner in Dornoch, he and the other members of this ownership group had seen Dornoch’s potential (winning two stakes as a 2-year-old) as well as his travails (banged-around 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby). At Saratoga in the Belmont Stakes, Dornoch didn’t have any impediments. It was a clean trip to sit close early, chase down Preakness winner Seize the Grey, take the lead and hold off his one serious challenger.

Trainer Danny Gargan and jockey Luis Saez teamed with Dornoch to make his owner quite overjoyed. The colt, originally bought at a cost of $325,000, is now a Triple Crown race winner.

As was mentioned, Saez has won the Belmont twice (Essential Quality in 2021), while Gargan earned his first win in a Triple Crown event.

Next . . .

Mystik Dan, Seize the Grey, Dornoch, Sierra Leone and the gang can now rest ahead of the next two marquee race on the 3-year-old stakes calendar,

Belmont  Stakes 2024 recapThe million-dollar Haskell at Monmouth Park in New Jersey goes Saturday, July 20th, that’s five weeks before the $1.25 million Travers at Saratoga. Expect any number of those who were on the Triple Crown trial to see one another again.

There are also lesser, restricted races as well, those limited by jurisdiction a horse was sired.

It’s a matter of time before Thorpedo Anna, dominant 3-year-old filly, takes on the boys. The daughter of Fast Anna handily won both the Kentucky Oaks (Churchill) and Acorn (Saratoga) in her last two starts. 'Anna' has the same jockey (Brian Hernandez Jr.) and trainer (Ken McPeek) as Mystik Dan.

There’s always the best thoroughbred wagering available through the racebook. If you’re in the mood to try something different, there’s head-to-head wagering.

Racing isn’t just the Triple Crown.


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