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“It was amazing, because we really were the underdog,” she said.

Ruler On Ice’s victory makes it three years in a row a different horse has won each of the Triple Crown races, and next year it will be a 33-year gap since Affirmed swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1978.

Ruler On Ice, trained by New Jersey-based Kelly Breen, did not run in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. The 3-year-old didn’t have enough graded stakes earnings to qualify for the Derby, but vindicated his trainer’s faith by defeating a field that included the first seven finishers in the Run for the Roses. He became the second gelding, along with Creme Fraiche in 1985, to win the Belmont.

The winning time for the oldest and longest race in the Triple Crown was a slow 2:30.88.

While Shackleford and jockey Jesus Castenon shot to the lead from the outside No. 12 post, Ruler On Ice stalked him all the way around the track. Stay Thirsty and Brilliant Speed were close behind but they weren’t going to catch Ruler On Ice once he took over with about an eighth-of-a-mile to go.

Ruler On Ice, a temperamental sort fitted with blinkers for the first time to keep him focused, returned $51.50, $26 and $13.60. Stay Thirsty, owner Mike Repole’s second-best 3-year-old behind the sidelined Uncle Mo, paid $19.40 and $10.80. Brilliant Speed was third and returned $7.90 to show.

The $2 win payoff is the eighth highest in Belmont history. Sarava’s $2 win payoff of $142.50 is the record.

Nehro, second in his last three races, including the Derby, was fourth, followed by Shackleford, Animal Kingdom, Mucho Macho Man, Santiva, Monzon, Master of Hounds, Prime Cut and Isn’t He Perfect.

Shackleford’s trainer Dale Romans said before the race he expected his colt to break first and then see how far he can go. It wasn’t far enough.

“He had it his way,” Romans said. “We had it the way we wanted. He just didn’t hang on. We’re so proud of the way he performed. I was down, but I would never get too down running at this level of race.”