Coming into the 2012 Belmont Stakes, the attention of the racing world was focused upon I'll Have Another and the prospects of the first Triple Crown since 1978. When I'll Have Another was scratched from the Belmont the day before the race and retired from competition altogether, the proverbial air left the sails of the viewing public and went with it the possibility of a Triple Crown Champion. However, if you ask Paynter's trainer Bob Baffert, there was a Triple Crown following the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, albeit a 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 and in each of those legs the horse was overtaken at the finish line. This prompted the frustrated trainer to propose a new kind of Triple Crown.
"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.''
The manner in which Paynter got beat wasn't at all dissimilar to the way Bodemeister was caught down the stretch on two occasions by I'll Have Another. For Baffert and Smith to lose in the exact same manner in three straight races, with two different horses, is as remarkable as it is disappointing.
Stick with this storystream from SB Nation Detroit for updates, results and more from the 2012 Belmont Stakes. For full-time horse racing news and analysis, head over to SB Nationhorse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come.