After a pair of dropouts and rearrangement of odds, the 2014 Belmont Stakes field is finally set.
Not only odds but also post positions were announced on Wednesday. Here they are, as well as picks for the 146th running of the Belmont.
|5||Ride On Curlin||12-1|
|10||General a Rod||20-1|
3. Ride On Curlin
Ride On Curlin had the second-highest odds to win the Belmont since early odds were released and until Wednesday. Wicked Strong and Tonalist leapfrogged him, but they shouldn't have.
Tonalist may have won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park in May, but the race's competition fails to compare to what Ride On Curlin has been facing in Triple Crown action. And while Wicked Strong finished ahead of him in the Kentucky Derby, it was only by a length. Ride On Curlin redeemed himself with a second-place finish in the Preakness Stakes, losing to California Chrome by 1 1/2 lengths.
His post position will give him the edge over Wicked Strong and Tonalist. Over twice as many horses have won starting in slot No. 5 than in Nos. 9 and 11.
Which horse is most likely to upset California Chrome?
2. Commanding Curve
As underrated as Ride On Curlin is, Commanding Curve is even more so. Ride On Curlin has higher odds, despite the fact that Commanding Curve smoked him by five lengths in the Kentucky Derby. He also used the Preakness as a halftime break, so he should also be more rested than Ride On Curlin.
But Ride On Curlin isn't the only horse that Commanding Curve is criminally underrated against. Despite finishing 4 1/2 lengths ahead of Wicked Strong in the Derby, Commanding Curve is a major underdog to him in the Belmont.
It doesn't make sense to me either. Commanding Curve even has the more favorable post position.
1. California Chrome
California Chrome already beat Commanding Curve, Ride On Curlin and Wicked Strong in the Kentucky Derby. All he has to do is take care of business, and the Belmont and first Triple Crown triumph since 1978 are his.
Business is looking easier to take care of for California Chrome by the day. On Wednesday, he secured a safe post position at No. 2. Weather.com also forecasts a 0.0 percent chance of rain on Saturday in Elmont, New York, which could be vital considering California Chrome has never competed on a wet track.
Expect California Chrome to utilize the dry track to, ironically, end the drought.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.