Belmont Stakes 2022 odds: Betting recap, look ahead at Travers Stakes

Belmont Stakes 2022 odds: Betting recap, look ahead at Travers Stakes

Updated Jun. 29, 2022 2:20 p.m. ET

By Andy Serling
FOX Sports Horse Racing Analyst

In a seeming blink of an eye, the Triple Crown is over as favored Mo Donegal made it four Belmont Stakes wins for trainer Todd Pletcher on Saturday.

Mo Donegal, who carried the silks of Repole Stable, as did runner-up Nest, also races for co-owner Donegal Stables. Both owners won their first Test of the Champion. 

This was the second Belmont Stakes triumph for jockey Irad Ortiz, who also won in 2016 with Creator.


With distance (1 ½ miles) being the biggest question for all the runners, Mo Donegal had no problem with the added ground. In fact, he placed himself very much in the discussion as the top 3-year-old after Saturday. There is, however, a lot more important racing to be done, so the discussion is to be continued.

Runner-up Nest tried to emulate another Pletcher runner, Rags to Riches in 2007, in becoming just the second filly to win the Belmont Stakes over the last century. She made a valiant attempt, recovering well after stumbling at the start — oddly, something that Rags to Riches also did — to gain good early position under an exceptional ride by Jose Ortiz, Irad’s brother. 

Momentarily blocked behind horses turning for home, she swung outside to finish second without seriously threatening Mo Donegal. With a cleaner trip, she could have finished closer, but it is unlikely she would have won. As her trainer said, "I got the feeling Mo Donegal had a little something in the tank if he was challenged," and, while referencing Nest’s less than good racing luck, "with a little different trip, it would have been closer."

Mo Donegal paid $7.20, $3.80 and $3. Nest paid $5.30 and $4.10. Skippylongstocking paid $5.60 to show. 

The $2 exacta (6-3) paid $27.60, the $1 trifecta (6-3-2) paid $187.50 and the $1 superfecta (6-3-2-1) paid $692.

As for Rich Strike, the hero of the Kentucky Derby, it just wasn’t meant to be. Without a strong pace to close into, his closing kick was ineffectual, and there is a fair argument the 1 ½ miles was simply too far for his best. 

Trainer Eric Reed, while shouldering more blame for the loss than he deserves, said, "we’ll give him three or four easy weeks and then start training him up to the Travers."

This does not take away from Rich Strike's Derby victory, and he remains a good story, but whether he can compete at this level is debatable. The good news for his fans is that, like Mo Donegal and Preakness winner Early Voting, he is being pointed toward the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 27. The race will be televised on FOX Sports.

Besides the winners of the three legs of the Triple Crown, there are at least three other major players currently pointing to the Travers, including Derby and Preakness runner-up Epicenter, who races for trainer Steve Asmussen.

The other major horses are in the barn of Early Voting’s trainer Chad Brown. Zandon (third in the Derby) and undefeated Jack Christopher, who missed the Triple Crown races due to an injury at the end of his 2-year-old season but has returned with two wins, including a brilliant victory in the Woody Stephens Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard. 

"This horse is an exceptional talent," Brown said after his win on Saturday. "This is my 15th year of training, and I’ve never had a dirt horse with this much pure brilliance."

While Rich Strike’s connections intend to train him up to the Travers, the other five divisional leaders will use either the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 23 (only Jack Christopher is surely pointed there as of now) or the Jim Dandy Stakes on July 30 at Saratoga. 

These races project to be hotly contested with what could be one of the most exciting Travers Stakes in recent memory waiting in the wings. While the Triple Crown may be over, things are really just starting to heat up, with the prestigious eight-week Saratoga meet just over one month away.

Buckle up, there is still a lot more racing left.

Andy Serling is the Senior Racing Analyst for the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and appears regularly on America's Day at the Races/Saratoga Live on FOX Sports. He also analyzes the races daily on Talking Horses on the NYRA simulcast network among other duties covering Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct. In his slightly more respectable days, he traded options on the now-defunct American Stock Exchange. Follow him on Twitter @andyserling.


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