ELMONT, New York (AP) --- Union Rags nipped Paynter at the wire in a photo finish to win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, beating a field without Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another who was retired with an injury.
The finish was another thriller in the final leg of the Triple Crown, and hard luck trainer Bob Baffert was on the losing end each time.
I'll Have Another used two stirring stretch drives to beat Baffert's Bodemeister in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. In the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, it was Union Rags who provided the thrills.
A crowd of 85,811 cheered as the horses battled down the stretch, and Union Rags barely caught the front-runner at the end.
Union Rags, trained by Michael Matz, finished a disappointing seventh in the Derby and skipped the Preakness.
***Tough luck for Baffert again***
Bob Baffert sure knows how to lose thrillers.
It happened again Saturday, when Union Rags nipped the trainer's front-running Paynter at the wire and won the Belmont Stakes.
The nail-biting defeat made it three straight for Baffert in this season's Triple Crown races. Add those to two of his three near misses with a Triple Crown on the line, and that's quite a run of tough luck.
I'll Have Another ran down Baffert's Bodemeister in the final 100 yards and won the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/2 lengths on May 5. Two weeks later in the Preakness, the result was the same, but by a neck.
Paynter drifted out a little near the finish, and Union Rags got his neck in front at the wire, leaving Baffert a close-call loser again. This time it was a photo finish.