Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome heads into the 2014 Belmont stakes as the even money favorite to win the Triple Crown.
Can the 3 year old colt win? It’s the question that you’ll be hearing a lot over the next few weeks, and it’s one that will probably get a little annoying if you’re plugged in to the media stream as much as I am, but everyone will be asking themselves if California Chrome can win the Triple Crown.
It’s an illustrious title that hasn’t been repeated since 1978 when Affirmed swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont. I don’t like adding to the mass hyperbole of the moment, but if you’ve seen California Chrome run the last two races then you know there’s a very real chance of him winning the Triple Crown.
If you had bet on California Chrome to win the Triple Crown before the Kentucky Derby, you were locking at a long term investment at 12-to-1. What seemed like ludicrous odds given the colt’s lack of pedigree now appear to be a solid futures play. Well done, if you’re riding that gravy train.
The Belmont Stakes run Saturday, June 7th at around 6pm, and California Chrome will be there to try and achieve history as the -115 favorite with his coveted nasal strips.
There’s been a ton of recent focus on California Chrome’s use of nasal strips at the 2014 Belmont Stakes, which is basically the media trying to create attention where none is necessary. The application process has been adhered to and approved by the stewards so we’re literally off to the races.
NY Equine Med Dir Scott Palmer: nasal strips "do not enhance performance nor pose a risk to equine health/safety." Says no need to regulate.
— Eric Mitchell (@BH_EMitchell) May 19, 2014
I’m not going to put a lot of bank in to the biomechanical advantages and disadvantages of nasal strips being the biggest tilt factor in the 2014 Belmont Stakes. California Chrome can win the Triple Crown regardless of some strange little strip. With the paperwork out of the way, the only obstacle is the race itself.
We’ll be seeing a lot of the contenders from the Derby return to the Belmont after skipping the Preakness. Wicked Strong and Commanding Curve, who finished second at Churchill Downs, are both +1200 mid plays. Danza returns as well with +800 odds, a number he shares with the second place finisher at the Preakness, Ride On Curlin.
A lot of trainers pulled their horses out of the Preakness to prepare them for the longer run at the Belmont. With wider turns and more track to catch him, there’s simply a higher probability of the Belmont being a more even race. Still, after two glorious runs in the earlier legs of the Triple Crown, California Chrome seems like a no brainer.
We’ll have more coverage of the 2014 Belmont Stakes as we get closer to the date. But if you want to know if California Chrome can win the Triple Crown by crossing the finish line first at Belmont, the answer is a resounding “yes”.