California Chrome just needs to keep doing what he's doing.
The Victor Espinoza-ridden horse won the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in convincing fashion. Only the Belmont Stakes stands in between them and the first Triple Crown victory since 1978.
Here are the top threats to history happening on Saturday, June 7 at Belmont Park.
Will California Chrome win the Triple Crown?
*All odds are according to Odds Shark.
Tonalist is the least experienced top contender in Triple Crown events this season, having not raced in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes. However, this may be outweighed by his experience at Belmont Park. Not only did Tonalist win the Peter Pan Stakes there earlier this May, but he did so on a sloppy track—a detail which could be relevant on June 7.
David Grening of the Daily Racing Form reported Tonalist, which has 15-2 odds, gave bettors no reason to doubt him on Friday.
Tonalist kickstarts Friday's training session with a smooth, steady 1 3-8 miles gallop on a beautiful morning.— David Grening (@DRFGrening) May 30, 2014
3. Commanding Curve
Unlike Tonalist, Commanding Curve, which also has 15-2 odds, is a familiar name to the Triple Crown this season. He finished second in the Kentucky Derby, losing to California Chrome by 1 3/4 lengths. He took the Preakness Stakes off, so he'll be more rested entering the Belmont than California Chrome.
Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form reported that rest hasn't made Commanding Curve rusty, though.
Commanding Curve certainly looks fit and ready for Belmont gallops impressive 2 3/8 miles the last 1/2 mile stronger than the first.— Mike Welsch (@DRFWelsch) May 30, 2014
2. Ride On Curlin
Ride On Curlin finished second in the Preakness just weeks ago, only losing to California Chrome by 1 1/2 lengths. Despite not using the Preakness as a halftime break like Commanding Curve, he has the highest odds to upset California Chrome at 5-1.
Welsch reported Ride On Curlin lacked no aggression on Friday.
Ride On Curlin really full of himself coming to wire and around club turn, rider had his hands full keeping him from running off.— Mike Welsch (@DRFWelsch) May 30, 2014
California Chrome has already beaten the top two contenders. He's never beaten bad weather, though. He's never had to.
Nothing levels the playing field in sports like poor weather conditions. Combine this with the fact that California Chrome has never raced on a wet track, and the weather will be his greatest obstacle to overcome on race day. There's currently a 40% chance of rain on Saturday, June 7 in Belmont, New York, according to Weather.com.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.