Belmont Stakes 2014 Update: California Chrome Hits His Stride On Track During Workouts

The 2014 Belmont Stakes is coming up and millions are anxiously awaiting to see if California Chrome will be the first race horse in 36 years to win the Triple Crown title. Affirmed was the last Thoroughbred to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes in 1978. Now hopes are pinned on California Chrome to break the long streak lacking a Triple Crown champion.

Baltimore Sun reports that California Chrome “breezed a half-mile” in 47.69 seconds Saturday morning in his final preparations for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.

Jockey Victor Espinoza worked the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner intensely, getting in 59.93 for five furlongs, “galloping out in 1:12.95 and credited with a double gallop-out in 1:26.28 over a fast track by New York Racing Association clockers.” Those attending the “Breakfast at Belmont” event gave a loud round of applause as they watched the large chestnut in a practice run just after 6:30 am.

calfornia chrome heads for the finish line

Alan Sherman, Art Sherman’s son and assistant trainer, says:

“I couldn’t ask for anything more. He galloped out great and [we got] exactly what we wanted today.”

The Belmont Stakes hopeful has a steady but mild workout week ahead of him; he walks Sunday, jogs Monday, gallops Tuesday through Friday, and jogs Saturday before the 1 1/2-mile race in Elmont, New York. He maintains his conditioning, but the big run is saved for the final race in front of him.

Espinoza had a chance at winning the Triple Crown when he raced War Emblem in 2002. This Belmont Stakes race, however, feels good to the jockey:

“With War Emblem, he only had one way to go: in the front. It was not that easy for me to ride him; it was difficult [which is] typical when you have a front-running horse. You don’t have many options. If something happens, that’s it. Your chances are gone. With California Chrome, it’s different. I have a lot of options with California Chrome. I believe I have a better chance than I did in 2002 because I have a different kind of horse.”

According to Epoch Times, odds listed on Bovada as of May 29 are the following:

California Chrome 1/1; Ride On Curlin 5/1; Commanding Curve 15/2; Tonalist 15/2; Wicked Strong 9/1; Medal Count 14/1; Samraat 20/1; Commissioner 33/1; Matterhorn 33/1; Social Inclusion 33/1; Kid Cruz 40/1; and Matuszak 40/1.

The 2014 Belmont Stakes will air on NBC Saturday, June 7 from the Belmont Race Track in Elmont, New York. Pre-race coverage stars at 4:30 pm and post time is expected to be somewhere between 5:50 pm and 6:40 pm.

[Images Via Bing and AP]