The 144th running of the Belmont Stakes is in the bag, and though it's somewhat bittersweet, it was an excellent race, regardless. Union Rags took home the win about halfway through the final stretch after holding third place for most of the race. Paynter took the early lead and led through the first half of the race, and led still coming into the final stretch.
Unstoppable U was in second ahead of Union Rags for most of the race, but in the final stretch he fell behind as Union Rags and Paynyer battled it out for the finish. It went right to the end with both jockeys pushing extremely hard, but Union Rags passed him right in the end to win it big time.
Race favorite Dullahan struggled early and was second-to-last at the halfway mark. Atigun rounded out the top three. Paynter was expected to jump out into that early lead though it was surprising to see the horse leading through to the final stretch.
In the lead-up to the race, there was a ton of talk about a potential Triple Crown for I'll Have Another, who came from behind to take both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. But I'll Have Another had to pull out and retire due to a tendon injury prior to the race, which tempered a lot of the hype around the race.