The 2014 Preakness Stakes may have just concluded, but given the brevity of California Chrome's quest for the Triple Crown, it's already time to look ahead to the Belmont Stakes on June 7.
Chrome ran a brilliant race at Pimlico Race Course, defeating Ride On Curlin by 1 3/4 lengths. Social Inclusion made a push for the lead late in the race, but the colt ran out of energy near the last furlong and lost by eight lengths.
Here's a list of the full results:
|1||3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||-|
|2||10||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||William Gowan||1 1/2|
|3||8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||Manny Azpurua||8|
|4||2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||Mike Maker||8|
|5||4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||H. Graham Motion||12 1/4|
|6||9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley A. Ward||14|
|7||1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||Mark E. Casse||15 3/4|
|8||7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||Linda Rice||15 3/4|
|9||5||Bayern||Rosie Napravnik||Bob Baffert||20 3/4|
|10||6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||Tom Amoss||30 3/4|
Chrome won't face all the same competition at the Belmont Stakes. While some horses will make the trip from Baltimore, Maryland, there will be some familiar faces from the Kentucky Derby and even new faces as well.
The following are considered contenders for the Belmont Stakes, via brisnet.com: California Chrome, Commanding Curve, Ride On Curlin, Danza, Wicked Strong, Samraat, Intense Holiday, Social Inclusion, Kid Cruz, Tonalist and The Commissioner.
It's hard to predict the winner several weeks in advance of the race, but can we really pick against Chrome at this point?
Well, recent history suggests that we should. SportsCenter's official Twitter account noted just how many times horses have failed to capture the Triple Crown after winning the first two legs:
Lucky number 13? California Chrome is 13th horse to win both Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes since last Triple Crown in 1978.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 17, 2014
Still, RJ Bell of ESPN tweeted the early line:
California Chrome is a favorite to win the Triple Crown (-130 at Sportsbook.ag) - rest of Belmont field +100— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) May 17, 2014
The projected field at the Belmont Stakes is very strong, however. Chrome might have won the Preakness as the odds-on favorite, but it won't be so easy for him to also win at Belmont.
There's a short turnaround between the Preakness and Belmont. Couple that with the short turnaround between the Derby and the Preakness, and there's a good chance that all the racing and working out could get to Chrome by race day.
Will California Chrome win the Triple Crown?
While this might work as a disadvantage, Chrome has already beaten most of the horses in the field. That's an indication that Chrome has a really good chance at success.
As always, post position will play a huge factor. He ran fantastically out of the No. 3 position at Pimlico, but nobody knows where he'll begin at Belmont. Then again, with a strong start, Chrome can really compete from anywhere.
I know history is against horses that are just one win away from the Triple Crown, but it's too difficult to pick against Chrome at this point. He's clearly the most talented horse right now, and there's plenty of reason to believe he'll make history on June 7.