A field of 11 will line up on Saturday in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome drawing the two post and installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite.
The Art Sherman trainee is seeking to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed swept the three races in 1978. The colt will be the 13th to bid to take down the elusive feat, but all have come up short, including I’ll Have Another in 2012 who was scratched on the eve of the race.
The two previous bids for a Triple Crown were by Big Brown (2008) and Smarty Jones (2004) and they were both the beaten favorite at odds of 1-5. Big Brown was eased and Smarty Jones was run down by longshot Birdstone in deep stretch.
California Chrome will face 10 foes including two that also competed in the first two jewels of the Triple Crown, Ride On Curlin and General A Rod.
Ride On Curlin drew the five post and will have a new jockey in John Velazquez. The colt was seventh in the Kentucky Derby after a rough trip and improved to finish second in the Preakness Stakes, 1 ¾ lengths behind the winner. The colt is 12-1 on the morning line.
General A Rod, who was 11th in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness, drew the 10 post and trainer Mike Maker will give jockey Rosie Napravnik a leg up. The colt is 20-1 on the morning line.
The second choice on the morning line at 6-1 is the James Jerkens trained Wicked Strong, who was fourth in the Kentucky Derby. The colt won the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct in his previous start. The colt is looking to follow Palace Malice and Union Rags, who won the previous two Belmont’s after getting beaten in the Derby and skipping the Preakness.
The biggest danger among the horses making their Triple Crown race debuts is Tonalist, who drew the 11 post and is the 8-1 third choice on the morning line. The colt won the Peter Pan (G2) by four lengths in his stakes debut over a sloppy Belmont Park main track.
Ruler On Ice was the last Belmont Stakes winner to skip the Derby and Preakness in 2011. The gelding had run second in the Federico Tesio at Pimlico before winning the third jewel of the Triple Crown, returning $51.50 in his upset victory.
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.
|$1.5 million Belmont Stakes Field and Betting Odds
|1||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale L. Romans||20-1|
|2||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||3-5|
|3||Matterhorn||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||30-1|
|4||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||15-1|
|5||Ride On Curlin||John Velazquez||William Gowan||12-1|
|6||Matuszak||Mike Smith||Bill Mott||30-1|
|7||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette||20-1|
|8||Commissioner||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||20-1|
|9||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||Jimmy Jerkens||6-1|
|10||General a Rod||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||20-1|
|11||Tonalist||Joel Rosario||Christophe Clement||8-1|
Michael’s Belmont Stakes Day Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Belmont Stakes Day card.
The third jewel of the Triple Crown features an outstanding day of horse betting that also includes five supporting Grade 1 races on an outstanding 13-race card. Michael’s Report will be available on Friday, June 6.