The Belmont Stakes results are in, and Tonalist has stopped California Chrome’s chance at history.
California Chrome made a late charge in the race but was not able to get position, finishing in a dead heat for fourth with Wicked Strong. Tonalist won the race in an upset, with Commissioner coming in second place.
Saturday’s race was one of the most highly anticipated runnings of the Belmont Stakes in years. After California Chrome dominated the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, setting up the first Triple Crown chance in more than a decade.
The race also offered a chance for redemption for jockey Victor Espinoza, who had a chance to win the Triple Crown with War Emblem in 2002 but lost in the Belmont Stakes.
“With War Emblem, he only had one way to go: in the front,” Espinoza said before this year’s Belmont Stakes. “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.”
Before the 2014 Belmont Stakes results came in, experts were split on which horse would win the race. Among the nine racing experts polled by NJ.com, only three picked California Chrome to win the race, while others predicted General A Rod and Ride On Curlin.
Experts believed if the 2014 Belmont Stakes results included the first Triple Crown in 36 years, it could be a boon to the sport but also draw away some of the interest.
Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun wrote:
Presumably, if Chrome keeps his date with history, it will make the Triple Crown series more relevant to sports fans not old enough to remember when Affirmed last won all three jewels in 1978. But if he conquers the marathon 11/2-mile distance, Chrome will also take some of the intrigue away from the series over the next few years. It really won’t have the same ring when the 2015 Kentucky Derby winner arrives in Baltimore and maybe New York with a chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since… 2014.
The full 2014 Belmont Stakes results can be found here, and are expected to be listed within a few minutes of the race’s conclusion.