In the weeks leading up to the 2012 Belmont Stakes, the horse racing world was hoping to anoint I'll Have Another as the first Triple Crown Champion since Affirmed accomplished the feat in 1978. Unfortunately, those hopes vanished when the horse was retired from competition on the morning before the Belmont, effectively ending any hope of naming a new Triple Crown champion.
However, if you ask Bob Baffert there was a Triple Crown won at the Belmont, albeit a rather dubious one. In each of the three legs of the crown, a Baffert trained horse was led to the front of the pack by jockey Mike Smith. In each of those legs the horse was overtaken at the line, finishing in second.
Baffert's comments via Boston.com:
"Is there a Triple Crown for seconds? I need a Triple Crown for seconds. I really thought [Paynter] was going to win today. He was doing so well. I knew we had the horse to do it and that horse [Union Rags] snuck up on him. He's still a young horse, still learning how to run. It's over. When you get beat, you get beat.''
Stick with this storystream for updates, results and more from the 2012 Belmont Stakes. For full time horse racing news and analysis, check out And Down The Stretch They Come.