Union Rags nips Paynter to win Belmont Stakes

Union Rags picked up right where I'll Have Another left off, coming from behind to catch a Bob Baffert-trained horse at the finish in a Triple Crown race. In Saturday's Belmont Stakes, it was another photo finish decided by a neck. Just like the Preakness. The 3-year-old bay colt barreled through a slim opening on the rail to edge Paynter, dealing Baffert, jockey Mike Smith and owner Ahmed Zayat a third loss in this year's Triple Crown series. "We needed every bit of the mile and a half," winning trainer Michael Matz said. I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with stirring stretch drives over Baffert's Bodemeister. But the champion stunned the racing world Friday when he was scratched from the Belmont and retired due to a tendon injury, relinquishing a shot at the first Triple Crown sweep since 1978 and only the 12th ever. His absence opened up the race for Union Rags, who finished a troubled seventh in the Derby after a bumpy start. Union Rags skipped the Preakness and because of the Derby problems switched jockeys for the Belmont _ from Julien Leparoux to John Velazquez, who picked up his second Belmont victory; he won in 2007 with filly Rags to Riches. "I have to give it to the horse. He did it all for me. He just worked so unbelievable and I was just hoping he could put that work into today's race and he did," said Velazquez, who will enter racing's Hall of Fame in August. "I was very proud of him.'"

 

Tags: Horse Racing, Video, Belmont, Belmont 2012 Winner, Belmont Stakes 2012, Belmont Stakes Winner, Belmont Winner, Union Rags, Sports News

 



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