Following Wednesday's post-position draw, the anxiety continues to build for the 2014 Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
We've already seen a few changes to the field, as it was announced on Tuesday Kid Cruz would be scratched from the race and General A Rod would compete. On Wednesday, things were shaken up again, as Social Inclusion was scratched, according to a tweet from Childs Walker of The Baltimore Sun:
Social Inclusion officially out of Belmont Stakes per owner Ron Sanchez.— Childs Walker (@ChildsWalker) June 4, 2014
After all of that, we experienced the intensity of the post-position draw.
Once each horse's name was selected and gates were assigned, the race's odds shifted once more.
With all of this taken into consideration, let's overview the event's schedule, each post position and updated odds and decide how the Belmont Stakes is likely to unfold.
2014 Belmont Stakes Schedule
When: Saturday, June 7
Where: Belmont Park in Elmont, New York
Coverage Time: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. ET
Post Time: 6:35 p.m. ET
Post Positions, Odds and Predictions
|1||5||Ride On Curlin||12-1|
|8||10||General A Rod||20-1|
Sean O'Donnell's Predictions
Odds courtesy of BelmontStakes.com.
Well, should this prediction come to fruition, we'll have to continue our wait to see another Triple Crown winner.
Sure, it's tough to bet against California Chrome, given his two sparkling performances at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. However, the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes could prove to be the California-bred colt's undoing.
A tweet from The Baltimore Sun shared the same concerns:
Fatigue, fresh field, 1 1/2-mile distance: California Chrome faces challenges in quest for Triple Crown. http://t.co/aQHLyLntBR— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) May 31, 2014
Starting in the No. 2 gate, California Chrome has a great chance to settle in behind the leaders early—the same strategy employed by jockey Victor Espinoza at Churchill Downs and Pimlico.
Also, expect the signature burst to the front of the pack from California Chrome after the far turn.
That's where things will change.
At the Preakness, Ride On Curlin showed fantastic endurance and a great burst late in the race; however, after starting outside at the No. 10 position, he simply had too much ground to cover.
Here's a look back at the duel between California Chrome and Ride On Curlin at Pimlico:
With the extra quarter mile at the Belmont Stakes—and starting from a far more favorable position in the No. 5 post—Ride On Curlin will use his great closing speed to edge California Chrome down the final furlong.
After all, Ride On Curlin's trainer Billy Gowan thinks this race suits his colt best, according to a tweet from the NYRA:
"I thought all along this might be his best distance," says Billy Gowan of Ride On Curlin.— NYRA (@TheNYRA) June 4, 2014
The remaining top positions will be filled with great closers as well.
Expect Wicked Strong, Commanding Curve and Tonalist to be heavy factors down the race's final stretch.
Ongoing workouts at Belmont Park could certainly sway these predictions before the race begins; however, as of Thursday, it will be Ride On Curlin who dons the carnation blanket when the dust settles on Saturday.