While the field chases California Chrome in the 2014 Belmont Stakes, Chrome will chase history.
No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978. Back then, winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont in the same year was starting to look easy. Affirmed became the third horse to accomplish the feat in six years.
And 36 years later, the feat looks far from easy. Over those 36 years, 12 horses managed to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, only to falter on the third. In the 146th running of the Belmont, California Chrome will either become just another horse—close-but-no-cigar No. 13—or the legend which ended the drought.
Here are early odds for the race on Saturday, June 7, according to Odds Shark.
|Ride On Curlin||5-1|
|General a Rod||—|
After living up to expectations in the Preakness, no one should be shocked that California Chrome is favored to win in Elmont, New York. Bettors may be wary of him because he's running his third race in five weeks, unlike all but two other competing horses. But Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form reported that Chrome showed no signs of weakness during practice.
California Chrome looks super in final Belmont prep cruises 4F in :47.47 with monster gallop out, :59.59, 1:12.76, 1:26.34 up mile 1:40.92— Mike Welsch (@DRFWelsch) May 31, 2014
Will California Chrome win the Triple Crown?
Top threats to California Chrome's crown are Ride On Curlin, Commanding Curve and Tonalist.
Ride On Curlin finished second in the Preakness, and Commanding Curve finished second in the Derby. But while they proved they can keep pace with California Chrome, the favorite also already proved he can beat them.
Tonalist is the most intriguing underdog of the field. He won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park earlier this May. His experience on the track could prove to be invaluable, but Doug Salvatore of Blood-Horse was more impressed with his stablemate than him in practice runs.
Tonalist isn't much of a work horse. Life In Shambles, who started career for MDN CLM tags earlier this year, went much better in company.— Doug Salvatore (@DougieSal) May 31, 2014
The Belmont and the Triple Crown remain California Chrome's to lose.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.