Belmont 2014: Video Highlights from California Chrome's Triple Crown Pursuit

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2014

Tonalist, left, with Joel Rosario up edges out Commissioner with Javier Castellano up to win the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

California Chrome came into the 2014 Belmont Stakes with all of the support in the world but could not live up to the pressure, as Tonalist came in first at the prestigious race.

The favorite was trying to become the first horse since 1978 to win the Triple Crown, but he could not get into good enough position heading into the final turn. He was forced to go wide, and he did not have enough energy to challenge late.

Instead, it became a two-horse race between Tonalist and Commissioner, with the former coming away with the narrow win. Medal Count finished just off the pace to end up in third place.

You can see the full ride around the 1 1/2-mile course here:

Of course, there were other contenders in the field who should not be overlooked. Here is a complete breakdown of the results from the classic race:

2014 Belmont Stakes Results
111TonalistJoel RosarioChristophe Clement-
28CommissionerJavier CastellanoTodd PletcherHead
31Medal CountRobby AlbaradoDale Romans1
42California ChromeVictor EspinozaArt Sherman1 3/4
49Wicked StrongRajiv MaraghJimmy Jerkens1 3/4
67SamraatJose OrtizRick Violette4
710General a RodRosie NapravnikMike Maker5 1/4
83MatterhornJoe BravoTodd Pletcher10
94Commanding CurveShaun BridgmohanDallas Stewart12 3/4
106MatuszakMike SmithBill Mott55
115Ride On CurlinJohn VelazquezBilly Gowan87
via NBC Broadcast

California Chrome was the overwhelming favorite heading into the race after winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Of course, there is a reason that there has been a 36-year drought: It is hard to win all three events.

During this stretch, there have been 12 horses to win the first two legs of the trio before losing at Belmont. The biggest problem is the length of the track, as well as the hectic schedule, causes a drain of energy. It would take incredible endurance to come through with a clean sweep.

Instead, Tonalist was fresh heading into the Belmont after missing both of the first two Triple Crown events. As ESPN Stats & Info noted, this is not that uncommon:

This did not calm down California Chrome owner Steve Coburn, who did not think this strategy was respectable, via Tom Fitzgerald of Fox 5:

Still, there is nothing that will change the finish of this race, which became an excellent battle between Tonalist and Commissioner. Dave Litfin of Daily Racing Form describes the very end of the race:

Commissioner had the rail on the final turn thanks to Javier Castellano and seemed ready to pull away from the pack, but it was Joel Rosario and Tonalist who ended up edging him by a head.

While Tonalist deserves the credit for winning, this remains an incredibly disappointing result for California Chrome. His trainer, Art Sherman, explained that an injury could have had something to do with the struggles, according to Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated:

Either way, fans were once again denied a chance to see a Triple Crown winner. Interestingly, Peter Burns of The Press Box notes that this is a good thing for the sport:

Despite this claim, the feat remains something that Americans will cheer for and dream of seeing until it actually happens. Hopefully, there is a young thoroughbred on the way that can finally end this extended drought.


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