The Belmont Stakes is already one of the biggest horse races of the year, but the 2014 edition of the event is the focus of hardcore and casual fans alike with California Chrome going for the elusive Triple Crown.
California Chrome has looked impervious during his victories at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, and the horse-racing community is at a fever pitch as the three-year-old colt attempts to make history.
The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.
Here is the pedigree info and predictions for the horses in the 2014 Preakness Stakes.
|Horse||Pedigree (Sire)||Status||Predicted Finish|
|California Chrome||Lucky Pulpit||Probable||First|
|Commanding Curve||Master Command||Probable||Fifth|
|Wicked Strong||Hard Spun||Possible||Fourth|
|Ride On Curlin||Curlin||Possible||Second|
|General A Rod||Roman Ruler||Probable||Sixth|
|Social Inclusion||Pioneerof The Nile||Probable||Third|
|Commissioner||A. P. Indy||Possible||Ninth|
|Kid Cruz||Lemon Drop Kid||Probable||Eighth|
Breaking Down California Chrome’s Triple Crown Dream
There are few horses in the history of racing with as much momentum as California Chrome carries into the Belmont Stakes, and the horse’s hopes of winning the Triple Crown are the most realistic in a long time.
Not only did California Chrome win at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but he also won at the Santa Anita Derby, San Felipe Stakes, California Cup Derby and King Glorious Stakes.
For a horse that is the son of a $8,000 mare and was studded for $2,500, few expected him to be a serious contender. As the distant relative of Seattle Slew (1977 Triple Crown winner), racing in big events is in his blood.
Horse racing insider Bill Oppenheim told Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe about how tough the profession of breeding horses is and how hard it is to find a challenger worthy of winning all three races:
I think it’s important to remember that it’s livestock being bred here, and you can only be so precise when you’re trying to breed. Even when we’re talking about human beings, full brothers and sisters can be vastly different, not only in temperament but in looks.
You always shoot for the best, but breeding is different from racing, so more of the genetics apply. It’s not one of those deals where you breed the best with the best and come out with the best. That’s not how it works.
After some strong runs leading into the Belmont, David Grening and Mike Welsch of Daily Racing Form talked about how impressive the horse has been thus far at Belmont Park:
After schooling in paddock, California Chrome galloped a tad more than 2 miles, picking it up the last 1-2-mile or so. Just like always— David Grening (@DRFGrening) May 29, 2014
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
Trainer Art Sherman and jockey Victor Espinoza have put the horse in a great position to succeed thus far, but the biggest test at Belmont will be how the horse handles the extended length of the course.
Will California Chrome win the Triple Crown?
The key for California Chrome will be getting a favorable starting post in the draw and getting out toward the front early. He doesn’t have to waste too much energy to grab the lead, but he must keep pace with the leaders.
If he keeps pace with the leaders early, Chrome proved to have the late-charging speed needed to make a pass in the last turn and run down a victory. While his endurance will be tested, the horse has proved to be stronger than expected in the first two legs of the Triple Crown chase.
For those looking to make a wager, let it ride on California Chrome.
Predicted Finish: 2014 Belmont Stakes Winner
*Stats via HorseRacingNation.com.