The 146th running of the Belmont Stakes features some clear favorites in the field with some good odds to win for a number of reasons, including their jockeys and pedigree.
Last year, it was Palace Malice, ridden by Mike Smith, who was able to grab the Belmont victory. Oxbow won the Preakness while Orb took the Kentucky Derby, as both horses finished right behind Malice at Belmont, coming in second and third, respectively. This year, all eyes are on one horse in particular as he tries to make history.
Below is a quick preview of some of the favorites to win the Belmont, including information on their odds to win as well as their pedigree and jockeys.
Note: All odds are provided by Odds Shark.
Commanding Curve (15-2)
It took a while for Commanding Curve to get things going, but as the horse continues to race, it appears that he's getting more and more comfortable.
Commanding Curve didn't break his maiden until his fourth race, but since then, he's looked more impressive. After a sixth-place finish at the Risen Star, he finished in third at the Louisiana Derby, then finished just behind California Chrome at the Kentucky Derby.
In terms of pedigree, Commanding Curve is the son of Master Command. The colt never did much, winning just two of his six career races, but his son is looking to make more noise than his sire did.
In recent workouts, Commanding Curve has continued to impress trainer Dallas Stewart.
"I've never seen him work any better," Stewart said on Sunday, according to Jennie Rees of The Courier-Journal. "He came back not blowing. That's the thing about him: He never gets tired."
Shaun Bridgmohan will be Commanding Curve's jockey. The 34-year-old had his career-best finish in a Triple Crown race with the horse at Churchill Downs and has hit the board four times during Breeders' Cup races. This will be a different race, however, as he'll have to make sure Commanding Curve doesn't wear down during the 1 1/2-mile race.
Ride On Curlin (11-2)
When it comes to pedigree, Ride On Curlin might have the most famous sire among the contenders, and trainer William Gowan is hoping that his horse can make a legacy of his own with a big win in a Triple Crown race.
Ride on Curlin has yet to win on a big stage, but he's come close. He's finished in the money in nine of his 11 career races, including a second-place finishes at the Arkansas Derby and Preakness Stakes. The Preakness finish was especially impressive, as Ride on Curlin had a strong push down the stretch to finish just 1 1/2 lengths behind California Chrome.
While he came close to a win at the Preakness, Ride On Curlin still hasn't reached the same level as his sire, Curlin. The former two-time Horse of the Year won both the Preakness Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Ride on Curlin will have a chance to win a Triple Crown race like his sire, and Gowan was quoted by NYRA.com saying he thought this would be the horses's best race.
"I thought all along this might be his best distance," says Billy Gowan of Ride On Curlin.— NYRA (@TheNYRA) June 4, 2014
As one of the top favorites to win, Ride on Curlin has looked sharp during his workouts, according to Mike Welsch from Daily Racing Form, who was impressed with his morning workout last week.
Liked Ride On Curlin this a.m., really picked up the pace through home straight, galloped final 1/2 in 1:00.55, handling T Crown grind well— Mike Welsch (@DRFWelsch) May 29, 2014
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will look to add to his legacy on Saturday. At 42 years old, the jockey has had plenty of success at the Belmont, winning in 2007 with Rags to Riches and in 2012 with Union Rags.
With a great jockey and legendary sire, there's a lot going for Ride On Curlin heading into this year's Belmont, but he'll have to go up against the horse looking to make history by winning the Triple Crown.
California Chrome (11-10)
As the go-to favorite to win this year's Belmont, California Chrome is just one win away from making history, as he seeks to become just the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown and the first to do since since Affirmed in 1978.
Which horse will win the Belmont?
In 12 career races, California Chrome has won eight of them, including his past six races. The last time he actually lost a race was seven months ago back at the Golden State Juvenile in November. He's been winning in dominant fashion, too, destroying the competition at Churchill Downs, then separating himself from every horse except Ride On Curlin at the Preakness.
California Chrome's sire is Lucky Pulpit, a colt that finished in the money once in three races but competed in the Santa Anita Derby back in 2004. While he doesn't have the most impressive pedigree, California Chrome has clearly not needed it.
After coming just short of a potential Triple Crown title in 2002 with War Emblem, Victor Espinoza finally has a chance at redemption while riding California Chrome. Espinoza hasn't won the Belmont before, but he came close in 2001, finishing in second with A.P. Valentine.
With the chance to make history, Espinoza has the best horse in the field, but he'll need to make sure to save the horse for the final stretch like he has in previous races, as California Chrome can dominate the rest of the field with a late surge.