Perhaps you have heard there is a major horse race on the horizon.
California Chrome, who already captured the Kentucky Derby and Preakness titles, is trying to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed accomplished the incredible feat. California Chrome's assistant trainer, Alan Sherman, discussed his horse’s chances at the Belmont Stakes, via Ed Zieralski of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
It’s amazing but I think he just keeps getting stronger. He keeps bouncing out of these races so fast it’s kind of scary actually. He’s just doing so good. Right now, I’ve got no concerns on the way he’s training and feeling so everything is going perfect right now, knock on wood.
Las Vegas certainly likes California Chrome’s chances to win the Triple Crown, as the updated odds indicate, via Odds Shark:
|Ride On Curlin||+500|
While the odds of victory are clearly of interest, many bettors prefer to take a glance at some of the prop bets. Here are a few of them, courtesy of Odds Shark as of May 25.
Will California Chrome win the Triple Crown: Yes -140, No EVEN
Will the margin of victory be two lengths or more: Yes EVEN, No -140
Winning time: Over 2:30:00, Under 2:30:00
2014 Belmont Stakes Viewing Info
When: Saturday, June 7
Where: Belmont Park Race Track, Elmont, New York
TV: NBC, 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET
While California Chrome’s quest for history is clearly the headline story at the Belmont, it certainly won’t be an easy victory. The field is much deeper than it was at the Preakness, and a number of competitors that challenged the champion at Churchill Downs are back.
Here is a look at a couple of California Chrome’s challengers for the third leg of the Triple Crown.
Ride On Curlin
California Chrome broke free down the stretch run of the Preakness, but his biggest competitor was Ride On Curlin.
Where will Ride On Curlin finish?
Ride On Curlin matched California Chrome nearly stride for stride for the majority of the race and ultimately finished just off the pace in second. Perhaps most importantly, the horse's pedigree includes two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.
Ride On Curlin also finished in second place at the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, in third place at Rebel at Oaklawn Park and in third place at the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park. It may just be his time to break through at the Belmont.
What’s more, he seems comfortable leading up to the Belmont Stakes, if David Grening of the Daily Racing Form is to be believed:
Ride On Curlin with an easy 1 1-2 mile gallop over sealed muddy/sloppy main track. Rider had good, strong hold of him throughout.— David Grening (@DRFGrening) May 24, 2014
Wicked Strong put forth an impressive performance from the No. 20 post at the Kentucky Derby in Churchill Downs and eventually finished in fourth place. The horse did not compete in the Preakness, so he should be fresh and ready to challenge California Chrome at Belmont.
Where will Wicked Strong finish?
Wicked Strong also won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and finished in third place at the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct.
This is certainly a strong field, but it's not going to prevent California Chrome from making history. He has raced against these horses before and won in the past, so this is not uncharted territory. As long as Victor Espinoza keeps his horse in the middle of the pack for the majority of the race, he can flash that closing speed that won him the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Move over, Affirmed—there’s going to be another Triple Crown winner soon.
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