Belmont Stakes 2014: What Video Replay Shows About Tonalist's Victory

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2014

Tonalist (11) 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. Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
Peter Morgan/Associated Press

All eyes were on California Chrome to start the 2014 Belmont Stakes, but it was Tonalist who came away with the first-place finish.

California Chrome entered as the overwhelming favorite after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He was attempting to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown, something that many fans around the country were hoping to see.

However, the race came down to Tonalist and Commissioner in the end with one of them edging the other by a head. Medal Count was right off the lead to finish in third place.

Here is a complete breakdown of results at Belmont Park:

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

You can learn a lot about what happened at the race by looking at the video:

California Chrome got out to a decent start, but the overexertion might have cost him the race. Trainer Art Sherman explained that an injury occurred at the start, via Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated:

On the other hand, Tonalist was nowhere near the front at the start, settling for a spot in the middle of the pack. Although this is not always a good strategy, the 1 1/2-mile course allows plenty of time to make a move. 

Jockey Joel Rosario played it perfectly as he allowed his thoroughbred to save energy for the second half of the race.

It was not until the first turn that he started making his move, going up to third behind General a Rod and Commissioner. This stood until he went three wide with the leaders to put him in position to charge late.

At the same time, Victor Espinoza was attempting to make his charge with California Chrome to the right of Tonalist, but his horse had nothing in the tank. He explained this to Beth Harris of the Associated Press:

This left what became a two-horse battle between Commissioner and Tonalist that came down to a photo finish:

Interestingly, trainer Christophe Clement did not even think he won. According to ESPN, he explained, "We actually thought he finished second, but we got lucky, he won. It was great."

Commissioner had a lead for a large part of the race, but Tonalist did a better job of maintaining energy. It goes to show that the beginning does not matter if you know what you are doing.

While this is a disappointing finish for fans hoping to see the first Triple Crown in 36 years, it was a great performance by Tonalist and Rosario. Based on what we have seen, both of them will have a lot more wins going forward in their careers.


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