A competitive field and the anchors of history will attempt to prevent California Chrome from becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner in horse racing history on Saturday.
Most fans of the sport are hoping the horse conquers all of its impediments. Because of the rarity of California Chrome's potential accomplishment, it would be a great boon for the sport if he were to win the Belmont Stakes.
The horse has been impervious to pressure. Amidst a whirlwind of media attention, California Chrome has come out with an outstanding performance.
Assistant trainer Alan Sherman talks about his concern with the horse receiving too much attention. But he recognizes California Chrome's ability to rise to the occasion. Per Alicia Wincze Hughes of the Lexington Herald-Leader, Sherman says:
Sometimes it gets to where the horse needs a little break, you know, with people coming around, but the whole experience has been great. We haven't changed anything as far as his training goes. He's been so straightforward and the horse just seems to be getting better. It's amazing.
It truly is amazing what California Chrome has done. But is the best yet to come?
Here's a look at the start time and entire field set to run at Belmont Park.
When: Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Belmont Park
|General A Rod||Mike Maker|
|Medal Count||Dale Romans|
Ride on Curlin
Richard Violette Jr.
Biggest Threats to California Chrome
Rich Marotta of the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame talks about the rain that could dampen the mood at the Belmont Stakes and how that might affect California Chrome.
Marotta has a great point. Chrome hasn't had to defeat such a strong group of contenders and the elements. A damp track and the extended distance at Belmont could be enough to throw California Chrome off his historic pace.
Despite Marotta's worries, weather.com says there is only a 20 percent chance of rain. But wouldn't the rain help to add some drama?
That said, a big win on a wet track would make California Chrome one of the best of all time. Completing the Triple Crown is difficult enough, but doing it in varied circumstances is an even bigger accomplishment.
Ride on Curlin
After finishing in second place at the Preakness Stakes, Ride on Curlin has to be at the forefront of fans' minds when considering the biggest threats to California Chrome.
Per Equibase, in six starts this year, Ride on Curlin has one win and five top-three finishes. He cannot be overlooked come Saturday.
After finishing in second place at the Kentucky Derby, Commanding Curve skipped the Preakness Stakes.
The horse and his team will have had a month to prepare for a run at the Belmont Stakes. The horse's stamina level would lead you to believe that the mile-and-a-half track at Belmont Park would be a good fit for him.
He'll want to play spoiler on Saturday.