Belmont Stakes 2014 Winner: Analysis and Race Highlights from Tonalist's Victory

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Belmont Stakes 2014 Winner: Analysis and Race Highlights from Tonalist's Victory
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Tonalist stole the show from California Chrome on Saturday at Belmont Park, winning the third jewel of the Triple Crown in a photo finish to end the favorite's bid for horse racing's biggest achievement. 

Commissioner and Medal Count placed second and third, respectively.

California Chrome finished out of the money, settling for fourth place after edging Wicked Strong by a nose, per Bleacher Report on Twitter: 

Meanwhile, the horse many felt was the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner's biggest threat, Ride on Curlin, finished last in the 11-horse field.

Here's a look at the complete race results:

2014 Belmont Stakes Results
Pos. Post Horse Jockey Trainer Lengths
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

While some were critical of California Chrome's jockey, Victor Espinoza, others felt that the veteran jockey did everything right, keeping the horse in position to pull away on the final turn. 

After the race, Espinoza admitted that he wasn't encouraged by California Chrome's start, per NBC Sports:

I noticed something, as soon as [California Chrome] come out of the gate. He was empty today...After a half-mile, he was pretty much done. Turning for home I was just waiting to have the same kick like he always had before, and today he was a little bit flat down the lane.

Considering California Chrome's grueling Triple Crown campaign and the challenging distance of the Belmont Stakes, it's likely that the colt ran out of gas. And as ESPN Stats & Info notes, the 11-horse field certainly didn't help his chances:

Although much of the conversation centered on California Chrome's disappointment and owner Steve Coburn's controversial post-race comments, per the New York Daily News, there's no denying that Tonalist ran a phenomenal race, overtaking Commissioner at the last moment. 

Tonalist didn't race in either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness Stakes earlier this year, but he came into Saturday's showcase as a serious contender after winning the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park in May.

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Despite being untested by competition of California Chrome's caliber, there's no question Tonalist was the fresher horse with more to offer down the stretch. 

The result also bolsters jockey Joel Rosario's resume. The 2013 Kentucky Derby-winning rider can now add a Belmont Stakes win to his list of accomplishments and more than likely isn't finished racking up accolades just yet.

Although Tonalist joins an elite list of horses to have spoiled a Triple Crown bid at Belmont Park, the horse racing story of 2014 will be California Chrome, a $10,000 horse that came incredibly close to ending a 36-year Triple Crown drought. 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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