Commanding Curve: 15-1
There are quite a few things to like about Commanding Curve. After a good runner-up effort in the Run for the Roses, he took a break to focus on the Belmont Stakes. After a slow start to his career, he may just be hitting his best stride now and could be a horse that is improving with each race.
Or, and this may be more likely, his second-place finish in the Derby was a fluke and the true Commanding Curve is more the one who finished an average third in the Louisiana Derby.
Ride On Curlin: 12-1
Ride On Curlin turned in a dynamite effort in the Preakness Stakes and was able to redeem himself after a terrible trip in the Kentucky Derby. There is no doubt this colt is talented. As my colleague Brendan O'Meara writes, "When Ride On Curlin gets a clean run at the front, he's as dangerous as they come."
Nevertheless, some major questions remain. The first one concerns how far he can effectively go. While he shares the same sire (Curlin) with 2013 Belmont winner Palace Malice, his female family is more sprint-oriented.
The other, and maybe more important, question is: How much did that big effort at Pimlico take out of him? Competing in all three legs of the Triple Crown is a lot to ask.
Wicked Strong: 6-1
Wicked Strong may be the most likely candidate to spoil California Chrome's bid at the Triple Crown. After a troubled trip resulted in a respectable fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, the decision was made to skip the Preakness in lieu of the Belmont, a race that should play to his strengths.
With his sharp closing kick, the long stretch at Belmont Park should give him plenty of time to make up ground and try to catch California Chrome. In addition, he has enough stamina in his pedigree to handle the added distance.
Tonalist is the great unknown in the Belmont Stakes. While his win in the Peter Pan Stakes was impressive, it came over an off track that he seemed to excel over. That victory also came against dubious competition.
At this point, there is no telling how good he may or may not be. On Saturday, he will get a stiff class test and have to prove that he can run with the big boys.