Belmont Stakes 2012 Horses: How Union Rags Affects I'll Have Another at Belmont

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIJune 7, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 27:  Union Rags, held by Luis Aguirre, is bathed after the morning excercise session in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 27, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

I'll Have Another is looking for another. Another victory.

With a third straight victory, I'll Have Another will become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. 

Union Rags' return after missing the Preakness will have a big impact on whether or not that comes to fruition this Saturday, June 9. Here are a few reasons why Union Rags' return could cause issues for I'll Have Another. 

 

Rest

It may not seem like much, but rest isn't a bad thing in horse racing. A rested horse means a better prepared horse come showtime. 

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 27:  Union Rags, held by Luis Aguirre and groomed by Eduardo Cruz, is bathed after the morning excercise session in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 27, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Ma
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

While I'll Have Another looks to run for the third time in several weeks, Union Rags should be more rested coming down the stretch. 

 

New Jockey

John Velazquez will get his opportunity to ride Union Rags, and he's only preparing for the win at Belmont, according to Dick Jerardi of Philly.com. 

"If there isn’t going to be a Triple Crown, this horse is going to do it," Velazquez said. "I ride to win the race whether there is a Triple Crown [on the line] or not. I get paid to win, not to finish second."

Velazquez will play spoiler on Saturday. 

 

Another Quality Opponent

No horse has won the Triple Crown since 1978. There is a reason for that. It's difficult.

You don't know how the horses will respond on any given day, you can only control your horse and the weather can play an important role in determining the outcome.

It's tough to overcome.

With Union Rags in the mix, the odds are severely against I'll Have Another. Another quality opponent means another potential downfall for the Triple Crown hopeful.