Belmont Stakes contenders Mo Donegal, Next and We the People all worked out Friday in preparation for the third jewel of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown in two weeks.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher had Mo Donegal and Nest work in company. Nest was ridden by Jose Ortiz and Mo Donegal was piloted by Irad Ortiz, Jr. The colts went five-furlongs in 1:02.99, followed by an extended three-eighths gallop out.
“The main thing I tried to emphasize to Jose and Irad was that I wanted a good, steady, long gallop out breeze. I wasn’t concerned about how quickly they went,” Pletcher said.
The $1.5 million race will be run June 11.
Mo Donegal was fifth in the Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs after awkwardly breaking from the rail. In his previous start, the colt edged Preakness winner Early Voting in the Wood Memorial on April 9 at Aqueduct.
Nest finished second to Secret Oath in the Kentucky Oaks on May 6. Pletcher said Nest is bred for stamina, one reason why putting Nest in the Belmont against colts is under strong consideration.
We the People put in his penultimate Belmont work, covering a half-mile in 48.39 seconds over the Belmont main track.
“It was an easy half, very routine for him,” said trainer Rodolphe Brisset, who was aboard. “It was exactly what we were looking for. Just a maintenance work to put us in a perfect spot for next week. We just like the way he’s been acting and training here. He’s not an easy horse and he looks like he’s maturing at the right time.”
We the People established himself as a top contender for the Belmont, with a 10 1/4-length win in the Peter Pan on May 14.
WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s Kuchar also could be under consideration for a start in the Belmont. The Uncle Mo colt won a 1 1/4 miles an allowance race for 3-year-olds and up at Churchill on May 22 with Florent Geroux riding.
Brisset said Kuchar could also target the Grade 3 Ohio Derby on June 25 at Thistledown.
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