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5 things to know for Triple Crown try in Belmont

California Chrome Preparing For Belmont


By BETH HARRIS
AP Racing Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- The last 1 1/2 miles of the Triple Crown trail are littered with misses and heartbreak.

California Chrome will try to dodge it all and win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, which would make him horse racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

The Belmont is the longest of the three-race series, which spans five weeks. California Chrome began his bid with a victory in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby on May 3 and followed it up with a win in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness on May 17. He'll try to become the 12th horse to sweep the Triple Crown, one of the sporting world's rarest feats.

Here are five things to know about the Belmont:

1. GIVE ME A `C': That letter is the most popular first initial for winning Belmont runners. Horses with names that begin with `C' have won 20 times. Of course, California Chrome has that trend well covered. The race also includes Commanding Curve and Commissioner. The only Triple Crown winners that started with `C' were Count Fleet in 1943 and Citation in 1948.

2. UNLUCKY FAVORITES: The Belmont has not been kind to favorites. Since 2000, only two have won: Point Given in 2001 and Afleet Alex in 2005. The last odds-on favorite was Big Brown in 2008, and he didn't finish the race. California Chrome is the early 3-5 favorite, based on his current six-race winning streak and thousands of sentimental fans who will want a souvenir $2 win ticket.

3. MISSES: The last two horses that came to the Belmont with a chance to win the Triple Crown were Big Brown in 2008 and I'll Have Another in 2012. Big Brown never finished the race when jockey Kent Desormeaux pulled him up at the top of the stretch; I'll Have Another was scratched the day before with a tendon injury. Two others - Burgoo King in 1932 and Bold Venture in 1936 - also didn't run in the race.

4. OFF TO A GOOD START: Bob Baffert, the only trainer to lose the Belmont three times with horses that won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, says a good start is key for California Chrome. The chestnut colt has been slow out of the starting gate in some of his earlier races because of his habit of shifting from one foot to the other. Jockey Victor Espinoza will try to keep California Chrome's head pointed straight and get him to show early speed leaving the gate. Baffert says if the colt gets a clean break, he's better than all the other horses in the race.

5. NUMBERS GAME: No Triple Crown winner has faced more than seven rivals in the Belmont. California Chrome will have 10 challengers, including two that will have run in all three races. Ride on Curlin was seventh in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Preakness. General a Rod was 11th in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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Bill June 07 2014 at 2:10 PM

California Chrome by a nose!

Flag Reply +8 rate up
Sandy June 07 2014 at 2:48 PM

Can't help but want the big red horse, California Chrome, to win! I like the story of the unknowns buying him. I hope their dream comes true!
There have been many MANY people saying California Chrome does not have the bloodlines he needs to win it. I'm confused by that...I looked up Chrome's pedigree on pedigreequery.com - Chrome is related to not only Secretariat, but Seattle Slew as well!! Both those horses won all three races of the Triple Crown!
GO CALIFORNIA CHROME!!!!!!!!!!

Flag Reply +8 rate up
HI BEAUTIFUL June 07 2014 at 3:02 PM

I hope that CC wins for all the nay sayers. Maybe for a change an under-horse will win the triple crown.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
2 replies
Richard HI BEAUTIFUL June 07 2014 at 4:43 PM

I hope they all win, just don't ask me how.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
leontherat HI BEAUTIFUL June 07 2014 at 5:41 PM

it has been a long time since last Triple crown winner. this horse is not thundering fast so going to be interesting. i hope he wins because he will have earned it.. the story of this horse is good and would like to see him win it for sure. i think it will be a race of the heart for this horse to pull it off because they are all gunning for him. chrome has a jockey he trusts and today he has his chance of immortality. good luck CC.

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1 reply
Lisa leontherat June 07 2014 at 8:48 PM

I remember that race.... Affirmed with jockey Stevie Cauthen (sp?).... Every few years I'm still surprised that it's been that long.

Flag 0 rate up
shadyobama June 07 2014 at 5:29 PM

SO CAUGHT UP IN GLUE 1
GLUE-MAN-SHOE 2
CRAZY GLUE 3
GLUE STICK 4
ELMER 5
HOOFHEARTED 6

CATMANGLUE

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
sterling reg. shadyobama June 07 2014 at 6:27 PM

YOU ARE TAKING TO MANY DRUGS STAY OFF THIS SIGHT

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
Duane sterling reg. June 07 2014 at 6:49 PM

And you failed to take enough spelling lessons! You spelled two out of ten simple words incorrectly. TOO and SITE. .. not TO and SIGHT. Can you spell S-A-D?

Flag 0 rate up
tizzmine June 07 2014 at 2:41 PM

chrome wins....why...scientific facts.....
simply he is NOT OVERWORKED with the stupid coaching of MORE WORK or HARDER WORK IS BETTER......RATHER more recovery between races.....he will win, and HANDILY......I KNOW TRAINING

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
sulandherb tizzmine June 07 2014 at 6:35 PM

don't think he has it for the length of the race, but I hope you are right :))

Flag Reply 0 rate up
mzfoofoo June 07 2014 at 2:53 PM

California Chrome will take this one :)

Flag Reply +3 rate up
ronbobel7 June 07 2014 at 1:50 PM

california chrome will be too tired and will lose it in the stretch.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
pnnypgil ronbobel7 June 07 2014 at 4:07 PM

Why give me facts

Flag Reply +1 rate up
spydrworks1067 June 07 2014 at 2:42 PM

For as hard this horse is being worked, I sure hope he takes the Triple Crown. Good luck, California Chrome!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
yablonskidodge June 07 2014 at 2:13 PM

Wicked Strong by a length.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dd1820 June 07 2014 at 2:41 PM

dont give RIP...................horse racing is seriously LAME.......no pun intended

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
pnnypgil dd1820 June 07 2014 at 4:05 PM

Why do you say that?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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