Union Rags arrived at Belmont Park shortly after 11 a.m. on Wednesday and was quickly settled into to the stakes barn.
All the Belmont Stakes contenders were required to be in the special stakes barn by mid-day on Wednesday.
Trainer Michael Matz said Union Rags, who drew post position No. 3 for the 1 ½-mile race, departed Fair Hill training center in Elkton, Md., around 7:45 a.m.
“We were the first ones on the track at Fair Hill – we were waiting to get on it at 5:30,” said Matz. “He galloped a mile, we got him back, cooled him out, gave him something to eat, got him on the van and tried to be here before 12 o’clock. The driver did a wonderful job.”
Union Rags will parade to the post in the Belmont Stakes with new rider John Velazquez in the irons. Velazquez got acquainted with Union Rags in a workout at Fair Hill last weekend.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another was the last of the 12 Belmont contenders to arrive at the barn. Trailed by reporters, cameramen and videographers, I’ll Have Another pranced down the horse path before stepping into the shedrow at 12:04 p.m. following a short walk from Mark Hennig’s barn, where he had been stabled since May 20.
“No complaints, no hurdles,” said trainer Doug O’Neill. “He’s being good.”
Saturday, I’ll Have Another will attempt to become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown and first in 34 years. Since Affirmed swept the series in 1978, 11 horses have tried and failed to add the Belmont Stakes to their Kentucky Derby and Preakness victories, most recently Big Brown in 2008.
–NYRA Press contributed to this report.
Union Rags/NYRA photo