The Triple Crown is winding down. Will there be a Triple Chrome, or will any of the several live horses below California Chrome sneak up on him and beat him down the stretch?
California Chrome is the 12th horse who is vying for a Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 (13th if you include I'll Have another, who scratched the day of the 2012 Belmont). This is the best chance in 10 years for a horse to do it, but there are several talented horses on the up and up. After reading ESPN's Gary West, the numbers could be in Chrome's favor, and not the kind of numbers you'd think of at first glance:
But the numbers, or at least the foal numbers, are trending in a direction that's favorable for another Triple Crown winner. The North American foal crop in 2011 was 25,500 (estimated by The Jockey Club), the smallest since 1975, or since Affirmed was born. The group's large enough to produce a truly superior horse, yet not so large that it's likely to produce two who are great or even several who are outstanding. And the numbers continue to decline, with estimates for 23,500 registered foals of 2012 and 23,000 of 2013. In other words, even though the Triple Crown's popularity ensures large fields for future races, the foal numbers argue for the increasing possibility of a standout.
Chrome could be that horse.
The following will be a ranking in descending order of the horses in the Belmont Stakes field, factoring in how well they've run through the Triple Crown window—with the window being any race from the Derby to the Belmont (some horses didn't run in the Derby or Preakness). Also thrown in is how well they've been training.
Will there be a coronation or regicide? Read on to meet the conspirators and the horse who could be king.