The 2014 Belmont Stakes features numerous gifted horses, but only one champion.
That would be California Chrome. He won the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in May. Today, a win would give him the first Triple Crown triumph since 1978.
A dozen horses since then have won the Derby and Preakness only to lose in Elmont, New York. Here's the competition California Chrome will have to beat to buck the trend.
|Belmont Stakes Field|
|5||Ride On Curlin||12-1|
|10||General a Rod||20-1|
California Chrome will recognize several of its opponents from Churchill Downs and Pimlico. And if he doesn't, it's because they were behind him the entire races.
Commanding Curve, Wicked Strong, Samraat, Ride On Curlin, Medal Count and General a Rod all raced against California Chrome in the Kentucky Derby. Commanding Curve lost by 1 3/4 lengths, Wicked Strong and Samraat by 5 3/4, Ride On Curlin by 6 3/4, Medal Count by 7 1/2 and General a Rod by 8 1/4.
Ride On Curlin and General a Rod also raced California Chome in the Preakness Stakes. Ride On Curlin also lost by 1 1/2 lengths, and General a Rod lost by 8.
The horses that haven't eaten California Chrome's dirt (yet) are Tonalist, Commissioner, Matterhorn and Matuszak.
Matuszak lost to Kid Cruz in April, who lost the Preakness by 15 3/4 lengths. Commissioner and Matterhorn in May lost to Tonalist at the Belmont Park's Peter Pan Stakes.
Tonalist is the only threat that California Chrome hasn't already outraced. But check this: California Chrome beat General a Rod—who has the same odds as Commissioner—by twice as many lengths as Tonalist beat Commissioner, despite Belmont Park being a longer track than Churchill Downs and Pimlico.
If the best horse is in the winner's circle on Saturday evening, California Chrome will be in the winner's circle.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.