144th Running of the Belmont Stakes
A crowd of 85,811, cheered as Paynter and Union Rags (right) furiously battled for the final jewel of horse racing's Triple Crown at Belmont Park.
Union Rags picked up right where I'll Have Another left off, coming from behind to catch a Bob Baffert-trained horse at the finish in a Triple Crown race.
The 3-year-old bay colt barreled through a slim opening on the rail to edge Paynter.
Union Rags skipped the Preakness and because of the Derby problems switched jockeys for the Belmont - from Julien Leparoux to John Velazquez, who picked up his second Belmont victory; he won in 2007 with filly Rags to Riches.
''He ran his guts out,'' he said, referring to Paynter, who was making just his fourth career start. ''I'm very disappointed we opened the rail for (Union Rags).''
''I have to give it to the horse. He did it all for me. He just worked so unbelievable and I was just hoping he could put that work into today's race and he did,'' said Velazquez, who will enter racing's Hall of Fame in August. ''I was very proud of him.'''
It was another photo finish decided by a neck. Just like the Preakness.
''We needed every bit of the mile and a half,'' winning trainer Michael Matz said.
John Velasquez, Jockey of Union Rags celebrates his victory.
Velasquez and Union Rags owner Phyllis Wyeth (right) hold the winner's trophy after Union Rags won the Belmont Stakes.