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California Chrome Has the Inside Track to the Triple Crown

by Sean Hahner
A A

Sean Hahner : WFUV Sports

Morning line favorite draws second position from rail.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome will have all eyes on him Saturday as he attempts to be the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. 

California Chrome, the Morning Line favorite with odds of 3-5, will start out of the second position- a position that his assistant trainer Alan Sherman is pleased with. “He’ll definitely be able to save ground,” Sherman said confidently. “If he’s not on the lead, he’ll be close to it.”

While California Chrome is the favorite, don’t count out the rest of the field just yet. Derby runner-up Commanding Curve will look to spoil the Triple Crown hopeful’s success from just two posts away in fourth position with 15-1 odds.  Commanding Curve’s trainer Dallas Stewart is pleased with the draw and believes his horse is ready to go Saturday as he has been responding well to training since the Derby. 

“We just kind of try to get our horse at peak,” explained Stewart. “We’re happy with the approach that we’ve taken.”

Like Commanding Curve, the other five Derby horses General a Rod, Medal Count, Samraat, Wicked Strong, and Preakness Stakes runner-up Ride On Curlin will all try to earn their way into the Winner’s Circle.  General a Rod will have Rosie Napravnik aboard, his third jockey in the three Triple Crown races as Joel Rosario rode him in the Derby and Javier Castellano in the Preakness. 

Like General a Rod who is looking to rebound from a fourth place finish at Pilmico, it is clear that Napravnik will also be on the comeback trail as she looks to bounce back from finishing in the bottom two places of the field in the Derby and Preakness. As her horse drew 10th position and currently has 20-1 Morning Line odds, Napravnik will have her work cut out for her, especially with Wicked Strong, who has Morning Line odds of 6-1, one position closer to the rail than General a Rod in the ninth post position.

Ride On Curlin will also switch jockeys for the Belmont as John Velazquez replaces Joel Rosario, who will be aboard Tonalist on the outside of the field in 11th position.  Perhaps Ride on Curlin’s jockey switch combined with his strong fifth position will give him the boost he needs to ruin California Chrome’s Triple Crown dreams, but he will also have to get through Samraat who is racing at his home track.

Samraat’s trainer Rick Violette believes Samraat has already “won over the race track” and that racing at home “doesn’t hurt,” optimistic claims that are sure to make Saturday’s race even more interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

Belmont Stakes Field

Post

Position

Horse

Owner

Trainer

Jockey

Odds

1

Medal Count

Spendthrift Farm

Dale Romans

Robby Albarado

20-1

2

California Chrome

Perry Martin, Steve Coburn

Art Sherman

Victor Espinoza

3-5

3

Matterhorn

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Town and Country Farms

Todd Pletcher

Joe Bravo

30-1

4

Commanding Curve

West Point Thoroughbreds

Dallas Stewart

Shaun Bridgmohan

15-1

5

Ride on Curlin

Daniel J. Dougherty

Billy Gowan

John Velazquez

12-1

6

Matuszak

George J. Prussin

Bill Mott

Mike Smith

30-1

7

Samraat

My Meadowview Farms

Rick Violette

Jose Ortiz

20-1

8

Commissioner

WinStar Farm

Todd Pletcher

Javier Castellano

20-1

9

Wicked Strong

Centennial Farms

James Jerkens

Rajiv Maragh

6-1

10

General a Rod

Skychai Racing, Starlight Racing

Mike Maker

Rosie Nepravnik

20-1

11

Tonalist

Robert S. Evans

Christophe Clement

Joel Rosario

8-1

 

Listen

Alan Sherman Dallas Stewart Rick Violette on Samraat

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