The greatest threat to California Chrome's Triple Crown pursuit may be the 2014 Belmont Stakes post position draw.
Since 1905, 23 horses have won the Belmont starting from post position No. 1. No more than 15 horses have won starting from any other particular post. And, only 15 horses combined have won starting outside post position No. 7.
This isn't to say 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champion California Chrome is doomed if he doesn't draw an inside post. However, like weather, for instance, post position does impact the field of play and, occasionally, the outcome.
Here's how to watch the announcement of where California Chrome and his competitors will start the Belmont.
When: Wednesday, June 4 at 11 a.m. ET
Where: HRTV, TVG
Live Stream: belmontstakes.com
The original 2014 Belmont field included 13 horses: California Chrome, Commanding Curve, Commissioner, General a Rod, Kid Cruz, Matterhorn, Medal Count, Matuszak, Ride On Curlin, Samraat, Social Inclusion, Tonalist and Wicked Strong. The field is now down to 11.
On Tuesday, Tim Wilkin of the Times Union reported that Kid Cruz had dropped out of the race. Later that day, Darin Zoccali of TVG reported that Social Inclusion had done the same.
Trainer Linda Rice said Tuesday that Kid Cruz, 8th in Preakness, won't run in Belmont— Tim Wilkin (@tjwilkin) June 3, 2014
Just announced that Social Inclusion will run in the Woody Stephens and not The @BelmontStakes - Takes a ton of speed out of the race.— Darin Zoccali (@atTheTrack7) June 4, 2014
Will California Chrome win the Belmont?
Kid Cruz didn't have much of a chance to win the Belmont, but Social Inclusion did. While Kid Cruz would've only entered the post position draw with 40-1 odds, Odds Shark listed Social Inclusion at 20-1, the seventh-highest odds to win the race. There have been greater upsets.
Left as the greatest threats (besides the post position draw) to California Chrome are Ride On Curlin at 11-2, Commanding Curve at 15-2, Tonalist at 15-2, Wicked Strong at 17-2 and Medal Count at 16-1. California Chrome sits at a commanding 11-10.
Stay tuned to see if the post position draw changes any of those numbers.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.