My old days of being around thoroughbreds are coming back to life with the possibility of a Triple Crown Winner. It's been 36 years since the last Triple Crown Winner, Affirmed. Can California Chrome do it? This horse has caught the imagination of the public, but so did Smarty Jones, Silver Charm and Real Quiet to name a few that fell short of winning the Belmont Stakes after winning the the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Since 1932, 23 horses have missed winning the Triple Crown after taking the first two legs. Back in 1979 Spectacular Bid was a Super Horse but stepped on a safety pin in his stall the day before the race and lost to Coastal. The biggest heart breaker was back in 1998 when the Bob Baffert trained colt Real Quiet had a 5 length lead in mid stretch and lost by a nose. Here's a quick run down of the contenders;
Medal Count - has a closing kick and would not be a major surprise.
Commanding Curve - skipped the Preakness after coming in second in the KD. He made an 8 wide move at the top of the stretch in the Derby, well rested working out smartly at Belmont.
Ride on Curlin - Ran a monster race in the Preakness coming in second. Here is the big move, change of jockey, John Velasquez will ride. Belmont is his home track and this will add lengths to his performance.
Wicked Strong - Sat out the Preakness, ran in the Derby but stumbled losing all chance, if this horse is rated and saves his run for the last 1/4 mile he could win.
Tonalist - Trainer Christophe Clement is from France and knows how to get a horse ready for a distance. There are more longer races in Europe than the US. I think this horse is over his head, but what do I know?
Belmont is known as the Big Sandy and an experienced jockey can make a big difference on this oval. I'm rooting for California Chrome all the way, but I used to be a handicapper (maybe in my own mind), when you bet with your heart, as many will do in this race, on a 3/5 shot trying to break a 36 year old streak of no Triple Crown Winner, good luck. My pick - Ride on Curlin with Johnny Velasquez, but I'll be rooting with my heart for California Chrome.