A new horse was crowned champion at the final Triple Crown race of the 2012 season, yet it came uncontested with the sport's strongest horse sidelined.
Without I'll Have Another's presence at the Belmont Stakes this season, there is no question that fans are uneasy about the Union Rags victory in New York.
This season, there was no horse more dominant that I'll Have Another. Arguably the most talented horse in the sport recorded victories in both of the first two races of the Triple Crown, cruising at the Kentucky Derby and picking up a strong finish at Preakness.
The feat had I'll Have Another just one win away from completing the Triple Crown. A Belmont Stakes win would have made for the sport's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed won the crown in 1978.
Without the outright dominant horse racing at Belmont, it was Union Rags who came out on top in a hard-fought finish. The favorite of the field to win the race met expectations and affirmed the optimism surrounding this horse.
However, it was a race that this horse could have never even fathomed had I'll Have Another been lined up on Saturday. With all due credit to the performance of Union Rags, it was one that undoubtedly came with a significant asterisk accompanied with it.
To have one of the more gifted horses of recent memory failing to take the track makes it difficult for racing fans to full accept the result at Belmont.
Whether it was Union Rags, Creative Cause or any other top-notch horse coming out on top in this third major race of the season, there is no question that the uneasiness has to loom large. In spite of what was an exceptional race from Union Rags, there is no question that a no-show from I'll Have Another gives fans a reason to question the outcome.