For the 12th time since Affirmed in 1978, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner came up short in an attempt to win the Triple Crown, with Tonalist spoiling the party.
California Chrome grabbed a quarter coming out of the gate, possibly stepped on by Samraat, and after stalking the early pace and being in position as they headed for home, the colt did not show the same punch he showed during his six-race winning streak, ending up in a deadheat for fourth.
The race did not run as many thought, with Commissioner setting the early fractions and hanging on gamely from the rail, leading until the last jump when Tonalist, with jockey Joel Rosario aboard, got his nose in front at the wire, returning $20.80 for the win.
It was the 15th time since 1978 that a horse that did not compete in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness won the third jewel of the Triple Crown.
Medal Count completed the trifecta, with California Chrome and Wicked Strong finishing in a deadheat for fourth.
What was once a feel good story of co-owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin turning a modestly bred colt into a superstar turned ugly during a post-race interview with Coburn on NBC.
“It’s all or nothing. It’s not fair to these horses that are running their guts out. This is a cowards’ way out,” an emotional Coburn said on NBC. “If you’ve got a horse that earns points, that runs in the Kentucky Derby, those horses should be the only ones who should run in all three races.”
Steve Coburn Rant
Coburn did not back down from his comments on Sunday morning on Good Morning America.
“Triple Crown, that means three not one, not two, triple means three,” Coburn stated. “If you don’t realize that maybe you need to go back to school and figure this out. Triple means three. If something isn’t done I will never see a Triple Crown winner again. I’m 61 years old.”
He compared the Belmont to a 6 foot 2 inch basketball player to playing a kid in a wheelchair.
CALIFORNIA CHROME, heading back to his barn after the Belmont. pic.twitter.com/THKL1i4Aef
— Barbara Livingston (@DRFLivingston) June 8, 2014
It was a tough beat for Turf ‘n’ Sport members, as Commissioner, who was sent off at odds of 28-1, was my top pick. Tonalist was my third choice, and boxing my top three contenders produced a $384.00 exacta. Commissioner paid a generous $23.20 to place and $13.20 to show.
Betting Handle Soars
The addition of major stakes like the Met Mile to the Belmont Stakes card along with a Triple Crown bid did wonders for handle at Belmont Park. Handle on the Belmont Stakes was $90.3 million, smashing the previous record of $68 million set in 2004, which was Smarty Jones’ bid for the Triple Crown.
Total handle on the entire card was $150.3 million, smashing the 2004 record of $111 million.
Triple Crown Changes Coming?
With Coburn’s rant, and with Pimlico officials already talking about making a change to the Triple Crown schedule, it seems momentum is there to possible put more time in between the rcaes.
In a poll on Bleacher Report, I asked readers “Do you think changes should be made to the Triple Crown?” With close to 10,000 voting, 81.6% said there should be changes, a somewhat surprising majority.
2014 Belmont Stakes Replay
2014 Belmont Stakes Payoffs
1st – 11 – Tonalist, $20.40 win, $9.60 place, $7.00 show
2nd – 8 – Commissioner, $23.20 place, $13.20 show
3rd – 1 – Medal Count, $13.20 show
4th – (Deadheat) 2 – California Chrome; 9 – Wicked Strong
$2 exacta (11-8), $348
$1 trifecta (11-8-1), $3,390.50
$.10 superfecta (11-8-1-2), $380.80
$.10 superfecta (11-8-1-9), $573.35
$2 double (8/11), $116
$2 pick 3 (1-8-11), $288.50
$0.50 pick 4 (5-1/6-8-11), $425.25
$2 pick 6 (5-1-5-1/6-8-11), 6 of 6: $90,671
$2 pick 6 (5-1-5-1/6-8-11), $814
$2 Belmont Gold Cup/Belmont Stakes double (3/11), $127