Union Rags wins the Belmont Stakes

Published: Saturday, June 9 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Personally, I was a little sad; I was a little sad, but not disappointed," Gutierrez said Saturday. "Personally, I wanted to be in the race with him, because I know how great he is. I wanted to make history.

"He's the one who brought us here. We have to take care of him."

Bodemeister was not entered in the Belmont Stakes. His trainer, Bob Baffert, instead elected to run Paynter, saying the horse was better suited to the 1½-mile distance of the Belmont than Bodemeister.

At the start of the week, Dullahan was regarded as a prime threat to spoil I'll Have Another's try for the Triple Crown. Dullahan was third at the Kentucky Derby and had bypassed the Preakness, so he came to Belmont Park rested under the direction of trainer Dale Romans.

Asked early in the week how he'd feel about denying a Triple Crown, Romans said, "I'd like to have 120,000 people booing me on the way back to my barn. I can handle it."

But the scratch of I'll Have Another thrust Dullahan into the favorite's role.

"I really wanted him to compete," Romans said of I'll Have Another. "This was going to be a special race, one of the biggest races of our times. €1/8 It would have been better for me to go out there and beat him. €1/8 I wanted to compete with him."

Before I'll Have Another's injury, the big subplot this week was the security barn €" the newly required home for all entrants in the Belmont Stakes. Citing racing integrity, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board ordered all entrants to be moved into the security barn by Wednesday. At Triple Crown races, horses typically are housed in barns of their teams' choosing. Entrance to the security barn was closely monitored and all treatments of the horses were logged by state regulators.

The security barn drew gripes from several trainers. "The barn is ridiculous," said Romans. He said the new security requirements were a negative for the spot. "I think this causes poor perception, and it makes people think even worse of the game when, really, this is a very clean sport."

In the grassy infield at Belmont Park, 11 standing placards show the names and jockey silks of the 11 Triple Crown winners. There is plenty of room for more, but none will be added this year.

Trainer O'Neill said I'll Have Another would be returned to his home base of Hollywood Park in southern California on Sunday or Monday.

Contributing: Gary Mihoces

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