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In a stunning turn of events, Dornoch, the 17-1 long shot, emerged victorious in the 156th running of the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York, on Saturday. Under the skilled guidance of jockey Luis Saez, Dornoch managed to outpace a formidable 10-horse field that featured top contenders such as Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan and Preakness winner Seize the Grey. This victory marked Saez’s second career Belmont Stakes triumph, having previously won aboard Essential Quality in 2021, and came with a $2 million prize.

Dornoch’s impressive performance was a significant turnaround from his 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, showcasing his potential and resilience in the third leg of the Triple Crown. Trainer Danny Gargan and co-owner Jayson Werth, a former Major League Baseball All-Star, celebrated their first Belmont Stakes victory, marking a milestone in their racing careers.

From the start, Saez expertly controlled the race’s pace, keeping Dornoch in a strong position. As the field entered the homestretch, Dornoch and Seize the Grey were neck and neck, setting the stage for a thrilling finish. Despite a late surge from Mindframe, Dornoch held firm, ultimately crossing the finish line half a length ahead. Seize the Grey, who had initially posed a significant threat, faded in the final moments, allowing Dornoch to secure the win with a time of 2:01.64.

Sierra Leone, the race favorite with odds of 8-5, had a rocky start but managed to recover enough to claim third place. Honor Marie rounded out the top four finishers. This year’s Belmont Stakes continued the recent trend of unpredictability in the Triple Crown series, as it became the sixth consecutive year that each of the Triple Crown races was won by a different horse, a streak not seen since 1924-29.

Dornoch’s triumph at Saratoga is a testament to the unpredictable and exhilarating nature of horse racing. The victory not only highlighted the horse’s potential but also underscored Luis Saez’s adept jockey skills and the strategic training by Danny Gargan. For Jayson Werth, it was a dream fulfilled, adding a prestigious Belmont Stakes win to his list of accomplishments.

As the dust settles on the 156th Belmont Stakes, the racing community reflects on yet another thrilling chapter in Triple Crown history. Dornoch’s surprising win serves as a reminder that in the world of horse racing, anything is possible, and every race brings its own set of challenges and triumphs.

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