California Chrome was installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1), where the colt will face a field of 10 looking to end his bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.
The colt will break from the two-post with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard for the ride. The colt has won six races in a row including taking the first two jewels of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The colt is currently listed at betting odds of 10-11 at Bovada.
The second choice on the morning line is Wicked Strong at 6-1. The colt bypassed the Preakness after running fourth in the Run for the Roses. The James Jerkens trainee won the Wood Memorial (G1) in his final Derby prep. The colt will break from the nine-post with Rajiv Maragh aboard.
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Peter Pan Stakes (G2) winner Tonalist makes his first start in a Triple Crown race, will break from the far outside 11 post, and is the 8-1 third choice on the morning line. Bovada currently has the colt as the 7-2 second choice in the betting. The last Belmont winner that did not start in the Derby or Preakness was Ruler On Ice, who pulled off the upset in 2011.
Tonalist has just four starts under his belt and while his Peter Pan win was over the Belmont Park main track, that was over a sloppy track and the forecast calls for perfect weather on Saturday.
California Chrome will be joined by two other runners that will compete in all three jewels of the Triple Crown. Ride On Curlin was seventh in the Derby and second in the Preakness and is 12-1 on the morning line. He will break from the five-post with new jockey John Velazquez.
General A Rod was 11th in the Derby and improved to finish fourth in the Preakness. The colt is 20-1 on the morning line and will break from the 10 post with jockey Rosie Napravnik.
Commanding Curve returns off a five-week break after a fast closing run to finish in the runner up spot in the Derby. The Dallas Stewart trainee will break from the four-post and is 15-1 on the morning line. Since 2000, seven runners have lost the Derby, skipped the Preakness and come back to win the Belmont Stakes including the last two winners, Palace Malice and Union Rags.
Samraat is in that club, having run fifth in the Derby and bypassed the Preakness. The Rick Violette trainee won his first five career starts before losing to Wicked Strong in the Wood. The colt is 20-1 on the morning line and will break from the seven-post.
Dale Romans will saddle Medal Count, who checked in eighth in the Derby. He was second in the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) in his previous outing. The colt is 20-1 and drew the rail with Robby Albarado in the irons.
Longshots Matterhorn (30-1, post three), Matuszak (30-1, post six) and Commissioner (20-1, post eight) complete the field.
The Belmont Stakes will be run on Saturday at Belmont Park with a post time of 6:52pm (ET) and will be televised live on NBC.
Saturday’s card kicks off at 11:35am (ET) with 13 races including six Grade 1 races on what will be the richest day of racing Belmont Stakes history. There are nine additional stakes including five additional Grade 1 events: the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap, the $1 million Ogden Phipps, the $1 million Manhattan, the $750,000 Longines Just a Game and the $750,000 Acorn.
Post Horse Jockey Trainer Bovada Odds ML Odds
1 Medal Count Robby Albarado Dale L. Romans 20-1 20-1
2 California Chrome Victor Espinoza Art Sherman 10-11 3-5
3 Matterhorn Joe Bravo Todd Pletcher 40-1 30-1
4 Commanding Curve Shaun Bridgmohan Dallas Stewart 9-1 15-1
5 Ride On Curlin John Velazquez William Gowan 13-2 12-1
6 Matuszak Mike Smith Bill Mott 50-1 30-1
7 Samraat Jose Ortiz Rick Violette 20-1 20-1
8 Commissioner Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher 33-1 20-1
9 Wicked Strong Rajiv Maragh Jimmy Jerkens 8-1 6-1
10 General a Rod Rosie Napravnik Mike Maker 25-1 20-1
11 Tonalist Joel Rosario Christophe Clement 7-1 8-1