Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome will try to make history this Saturday at Belmont Park in the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes. He’ll break from post position 2 and has been installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite in a field of 11 that includes Derby runner-up Commanding Curve, and Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin.
"Well, I think going a mile and a half, it's a good post position,” California Chrome trainer Art Sherman said after Wednesday morning’s draw. “We feel safe on the ground leaving there. I think it's going to be a jockey's race anyhow. It gives you a chance to see who's going to have the speed and where you land going into the first turn.”
California Chrome is trying to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown champion. He’s the 13th horse to arrive in New York with the chance to end a record 36-year Triple Crown drought that began in 1978 after Affirmed outlasted Alydar to win the Belmont by a head.
Owned by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome has reeled off six consecutive victories, including the Grade 2 San Felipe and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby prior to the first Saturday in May when he won the Derby as the favorite. Only two California-bred horses have ever won the Belmont, and none since Africander in 1903.
“He's America's horse because we've got the entire country, if not the entire world, behind us,” Coburn said. “We just want to hope and pray that everybody gets a clean break, every horse has a safe trip, and everybody gets to come home clean and let the chips fall where they may. That's all we can say on this deal. We're hoping to see everybody in the winner's circle.”
The last favorite to take the Belmont was Afleet Alex in 2005.