The 2014 Belmont Stakes was one of the most exciting horse races of the year, but many fans were disappointed when Triple Crown contender California Chrome failed to cement his place in history.
It was Tonalist and jockey Joel Rosario who stole the show with a narrow victory over Commissioner at the finish line. California Chrome was running strong late in the race, but he could only manage a fourth-place finish.
Here is the video of the 2014 Belmont Stakes, the full race results and a breakdown of the action.
Full Race Video
*Video via The New York Racing Association's YouTube page.
|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|
Source: NBC Broadcast
Breaking Down the 2014 Belmont Stakes
As the longest Triple Crown race (Belmont Park measures at a distance of 1.5 miles), there were questions about California Chrome’s endurance and how the horse would handle so many races in such a short period of time.
After watching California Chrome come up short in the biggest race of his life, it is clear that the energy needed to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes took too much out of the talented colt.
ESPN’s stats department shared just how difficult it is for a Triple Crown contender to win against a stacked field like the one California Chrome went against Saturday:
No Triple Crown winner has beaten more than seven horses in the Belmont to win the Triple Crown.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 7, 2014
Coming out of the No. 2 post, the horse started strong and found himself fighting for a spot at the front of the pack. Several horses used early energy to make it to the lead, and that bogged down the Triple Crown hopeful’s jockey, Victor Espinoza, as he was forced to follow the pace of the race.
Espinoza tried to swing California Chrome to the outside heading into the final turn, but he was once again forced to maneuver through traffic, a move that could have cost the horse the energy he desperately needed down the backstretch.
The New York Daily News spoke to California Chrome’s owner, Steve Coburn, after the race, and the outspoken personality made his feelings on the race very clear:
"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
While Tonalist deserves immense credit for running the race of his life—the team owes a big thanks to veteran jockey Joel Rosario for executing the perfect game plan—there are many fans who share Coburn’s sentiment.
There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner in horse racing since 1978, when Affirmed accomplished the feat, but fans are desperate to see history made. Unfortunately for horse racing enthusiasts, they’ll have to wait until next year at the very least.
Should horses have to race in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes to race in the Belmont Stakes?
After expelling so much effort trying to work though the traffic and trying to get to the outside for the first mile, Chrome didn’t have the energy and stamina needed through the final turn and down the backstretch to earn the victory.
While the move we saw Saturday was good enough to win the shorter Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, the extended course length was enough to destroy California Chrome’s hopes and open the door for an exciting run by Tonalist.
*Stats via HorseRacingNation.com.