California Chrome draws post two for Belmont

Wed Jun 4, 2014 1:20pm EDT
 
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By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The racing gods smiled on California Chrome again on Wednesday, handing the colt post position two for Saturday's Belmont Stakes where he will attempt to become horse racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.

With a field of 11 runners entered for the $1.5 million classic, California Chrome drew perfectly near the inside for the exhausting 1 1/2-mile (2,400 meters) journey that will determine whether he conquers U.S. racing's greatest challenge and joins the sport's immortals.

"It's a good post position," said Art Sherman, California Chrome's 77-year-old trainer. "At least we'll save some ground leaving there.

"But I think it'll be a jockeys' race anyhow. It gives you a chance to see who is going to have the speed and where you land into the first turn."

If the 3-year-old colt can add the Belmont Stakes to his impressive wins in last month's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, he will become the first horse in 36 years to achieve the elusive Triple Crown.

Racing is a notoriously fickle sport where luck plays a big part but fate could be on California Chrome's side. In 1973, the legendary Secretariat also wore the number two saddlecloth in the Belmont when he broke a 25-year Triple Crown drought.

By coincidence, Secretariat and California Chrome both had the same number three starting gate for the Preakness, but not the Kentucky Derby.

California Chrome was immediately installed as the 3-5 early favorite for Saturday's race in Elmont, New York, after his main rivals all drew outside of him   Continued...

 
Jun 4, 2014; Elmont, NY, USA; California Chrome ridden by exercise rider Willie Delgado passes the finish line as they jog the track during workouts in preparation for the 2014 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports