The Triple Crown dream died again on Saturday when Tonalist played the ultimate spoiler to California Chrome's quest for horse racing immortality.
With a consistent performance, Tonalist outraced Commissioner for a close win. Medal Count came in third, and California Chrome ended up in a dead heat with Wicked Strong in fourth.
In case you missed the race live, here's a replay:
Here's a look at the final payouts, per Covers.com on Twitter:
Payout table for the Belmont. Anyone make some big bucks today? pic.twitter.com/BzYryo5HAQ— Covers.com (@Covers) June 7, 2014
This is the official finishing order, per the NBC broadcast:
|1||11||Tonalist||Joel Rosario||Christophe Clement||-|
|2||8||Commissioner||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||Head|
|3||1||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||1|
|4||2||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||1 3/4|
|4||9||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||Jimmy Jerkins||1 3/4|
|6||7||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette||4|
|7||10||General a Rod||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||5 1/4|
|8||3||Matterhorn||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||10|
|9||4||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||12 3/4|
|10||6||Matuszak||Mike Smith||Bill Mott||55|
|11||5||Ride On Curlin||John Velazquez||Billy Gowan||87|
California Chrome's attempt at history captivated the sports world for a month, and it was clear that emotions were high on Saturday. When Tonalist won, it seemed as though all the air was let out of Belmont Park.
There was an eerie silence as if a tragedy had taken place.
After the race, emotions were still a factor. California Chrome's owner Steve Coburn went on an epic rant—by horse racing's tame standards—about how unfair the setup was for horses attempting to complete the Triple Crown.
Essentially, he didn't take kindly to his horse losing to horses that didn't run in all of the Triple Crown events.
The New York Daily News captured a juicy portion of Coburn's frustration-filled spiel:
"If you've got a horse, run him in all three...This is the coward's way out." -California Chrome owner Steve Coburn— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 7, 2014
Here's the video in its entirety:
ESPN's Buster Olney seemed to sense the bitterness spilling from Coburn's comments:
Owner of California Chrome on horses dropping into the Belmont to beat his horse: "The coward's way out." Oh, boy.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 7, 2014
While Coburn does have a point, it's difficult to take it too seriously when he's wearing the hater's hat. He was clearly disappointed that his horse didn't make history. Had he been beaten by General a Rod, a horse who did run in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, would his wrath have had a different theme?
There's no way to know for sure, but here's an idea to ponder: If California Chrome had won, how long would the attention have lasted? Would it be as special in 2015 when the next great three-year-old is touted as a potential history-maker?
These are questions we'll never know the answers to.
What we do know is that California Chrome made horse racing relevant to fans all over the country who otherwise never cared about the sport.
That has to count for something.