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Belmont Stakes: With The World Watching, for California Chrome, It’s Show TimeKevin Hays Salem-News.com
Will California Chrome add his name to the list of Triple Crown winners such as Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed. Or will he fall short?
(NEW YORK) - For Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome it’s time to shine, or will there be an upset in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park.
California Chrome is a heavy favorite to become horse racing's 12th Triple Crown champion when he takes on 10 rivals with the chance to end a record 36 year Triple Crown drought that began after Affirmed just beat Alydar to win the Belmont by a head in 1978. I'll Have Another was on track to try and break the record, but retired the day before the 2012 Belmont with a leg injury.
California Chrome is trained by 77-year-old Art Sherman, and regular rider Victor Espinoza, who was eighth in the 2002 Belmont Stakes on Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem, is back aboard.
"I feel better about this race than I have any other race, to be honest with you, just looking at the horse and saying, 'Wow,'" Sherman told the NYRA official website. "I see how far he's advanced. I know it'll be tougher going a mile and a half, but this horse is a good horse. I think he's the real McCoy. They better worry about me, I can tell you that."
"There's a lot of fresh horses taking shots at me. He's going to have a target on his back," Sherman said. "It's going to be a jockey race. Espinoza will just have to maneuver him to the right spot and just sit there and not move too quick. It's a long race. He just needs to have a good trip; that's all I hope for."
Two of California Chrome's challengers are horses that also competed in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Ride On Curlin and General a Rod. Wicked Strong skipped the Preakness after closing to be fourth in the Derby after a troubled trip. Winner of the Grade 1 TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 5, the son of Hard Spun put in a bullet five-furlong work over the training track last Sunday.
Tonalist, trained by Christophe Clement, will be making just his fifth career start in the Belmont. Tonalist was second to Grade 1 Florida Derby winner Constitution on February 22, at Gulfstream Park. He was not in action again until winning the Grade 2 Peter Pan on May 10 by four lengths over Belmont Stakes contender Commissioner. Jockey Joel Rosario, who rode Tonalist to victory in the Peter Pan, gets the return call.
Television coverage will be from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Network and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST on NBC, and include the Grade 1, $750,000 TVG Acorn; Grade 1, $750,000 Longines Just a Game; Grade 1, $1 million Ogden Phipps; Grade 1, $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap; and Grade 1, $1 million Knob Creek Manhattan prior to the Belmont, which has a scheduled post time of 6:52 p.m. EST.
2014 Belmont Stakes Full Lineup (Post Position, Horse, Jockey, Odds):
1. Medal Count, Robby Albarado, 20-1 2. California Chrome, Victor Espinoza, 3-5 3. Matterhorn, Joe Bravo, 30-1 4. Commanding Curve, Shaun Bridgmohan, 15-1 5. Ride On Curlin, John Velazquez, 12-1 6. Matuszak, Mike Smith, 30-1 7. Samraat, Jose Ortiz, 20-1 8. Commissioner, Javier Castellano, 20-1 9. Wicked Strong, Rajiv Maragh, 6-1 10. General a Rod, Rosie Napravnik, 20-1 11. Tonalist, Joel Roasario, 8-1
Some of the information in this story is courtesy of NYRA.com
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