The Belmont Stakes turned out to be an exciting horse race even without crowd favorite I'll Have Another in the event. Saturday's 144th running of the Belmont was won by Union Rags with inches to spare over Paynter who'd led most of the race. Union Rags was ridden by John Velazquez who got a very late burst up the rails out of Union Rags, passing Paynter at the last possible second. Atigun came in third in the longest, most grueling of the season's three classic races. After the win, Velazquez complemented Union Rags saying, quote, "He just works unbelievable and I was just hoping he could put that work into today's race and he did. I am very proud of him."
The Triple Crown wasn't at stake this year. Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I'll Have Another was scratched from the Belmont late Friday with a leg injury. The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978.