Tuesday, March 3, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

California Chrome favored in last Triple Crown leg

By
From page B1 | June 05, 2014 |

NEW YORK — California Chrome became the early 3-5 favorite on Wednesday to win the Belmont Stakes and become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown champion and first in 36 years.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will face 10 rivals old and new on Saturday at Belmont Park. Since Affirmed became the last Triple Crown winner in 1978, three Belmont fields with the same history on the line also drew 11 horses in 1981, 1988 and 2002.

“They better worry about me,” California Chrome trainer Art Sherman said.

California Chrome will break from the No. 2 post under Victor Espinoza, putting nine horses to his outside and giving Espinoza a good look at the early speed. Eleven Belmont winners have come out of that spot in the starting gate, the last being Tabasco Cat in 1994.

“I like number two,” Espinoza said. “Hopefully, it’s my lucky number.”

Racing fans looking for an omen will see California Chrome listed No. 2 in the betting program, the same number as 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who won the Belmont by a record 31 lengths while setting a track record that stands for the 1 ½-mile race.

California Chrome went for his usual gallop earlier Wednesday, and Sherman was pleased.

“I feel better about this race than I have any other race, to be honest with you, just looking at the horse and saying, ‘Wow,'” he said. “I see how far he’s advanced. I know it’ll be tougher going a mile and a half, but this horse is a good horse. I think he’s the real McCoy.”

Of California Chrome’s 10 rivals, four come into the Belmont off a five-week break. Commanding Curve hasn’t run since finishing second in the Kentucky Derby on May 3; Wicked Strong has been off since stumbling and finishing fourth in the Derby.

Two other Derby horses, Samraat (fifth) and Medal Count (eighth), also skipped the Preakness on May 17.

Wicked Strong was a distant second choice at 6-1 and drew post No. 9. The colt is based at Belmont, and has one win in two previous races at the sprawling track.

“I’m pretty confident; as confident as I can be,” Wicked Strong trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. “I really like how he’s doing. It’s a big, prestigious race and people are going to take a shot, especially with the distance being a big question for everybody.”

None of the horses has run as far as they will on Saturday, and few will ever be asked to do it again in their careers. Since most U.S. horses are trained for speed, the distance is unfamiliar and they aren’t regularly trained to run that far. The Belmont is the longest of the Triple Crown races.

Four newcomers to the Triple Crown trail will try to derail California Chrome’s bid for history.

Tonalist was made the third betting choice at 8-1 odds and will break from the No. 11 post. The colt has experience over the track, having won the Peter Pan Stakes on May 10.

So are Commissioner and Matterhorn, both trained by Todd Pletcher, and Matuszak.

Commissioner, listed at 20-1, finished second in the Peter Pan, and 30-1 shot Matterhorn was fourth.

“We’re in the Belmont because we feel like they’re horses that want to stay the distance,” Pletcher said. “They both need to improve and they both need to run their best races to be a part of it.”

Matuszak was second in the Federico Tesio at Pimlico on April 19, making him the most well-rested colt in the race. The 30-1 shot is trained and ridden by Hall of Famers Bill Mott and Mike Smith, respectively. Smith won last year’s Belmont aboard Palice Malice.

Ride On Curlin and General a Rod are the only other horses besides California Chrome that will run in all three legs of the Triple Crown. Ride On Curlin was seventh in the Derby and second in the Preakness, while 20-1 shot General a Rod was 11th at Churchill Downs and fourth at Pimlico.

“Hopefully, another five-sixteenths of a mile and we’ll be able to catch him as opposed to the Preakness, but that Chrome is going to be hard to catch,” Ride On Curlin trainer Billy Gowan said.

Ride On Curlin will have a new jockey for the Belmont in Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who regularly rides at the track. General a Rod has a new rider, too, with Rosie Napravnik aboard.

At 12-1, Ride On Curlin was one of eight horses in the Belmont field listed at double-digit odds. General a Rod is one of four 20-1 shots.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

US / World

 
Netanyahu assails Iran deal, touts US-Israel ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
‘Naty’ Revuelta, who had daughter with Fidel Castro, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UN warns against complacency as Ebola fight enters new phase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Iraq launches operation to retake Tikrit from Islamic State

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Woman with slain Putin critic says she didn’t see his killer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Storms bring up nearly 3 feet of snow to Lake Tahoe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
4 people killed, 4 others injured in California car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Federal study: Foster kids struggle to get health screenings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mom convicted of killing son, 5, by poisoning him with salt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Well-liked photo teacher found dead in California classroom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Budget standoff leaves California college hopefuls in limbo

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Police chief: Man killed on Skid Row reached for gun

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments | Gallery

Military judge orders overseer of Gitmo cases replaced

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Snowy Boston starts removing parking-space savers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Israelis worry about inequality, not Iran

By Daniel Gordis | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Editorial cartoon: March 3-4, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Minority outreach that works

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

.

Entertainment

Sara Gilbert welcomes baby boy with wife Linda Perry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Judge: CeeLo Green in compliance with probation in drug case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Clive Owen to make Broadway debut in Pinter’s ‘Old Times’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Television’s ‘Judge Judy’ staying in session

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Pop channel bringing Daytime Emmys ceremony back to TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Julianne and Derek Hough to hit the road again this summer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Ming-Na Wen: ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ role makes me a cool mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
TVGrid March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

NASCAR falls flat in follow-up to Daytona 500

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Mayweather and Pacquiao to meet only once before fight week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Michael Schumacher’s son to drive in Formula 4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
UConn still No. 1 in women’s basketball poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Kurt Busch to follow guidelines toward NASCAR reinstatement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Harrington wins the Honda Classic in a playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Curt Schilling fires back after offensive Twitter posts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Wild week leads to changes across AP Top 25 poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
New Browns QB McCown barely knows Manziel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Jordan, other NBA owners join Forbes’ billionaire list

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL salary cap increases $10 million to top $143 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

A’s switch-pitcher hopes to find spot with Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sharks trade Desjardins to Blackhawks for Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

.

Business

Buffett declines to clarify plan to eventually replace him

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, rose in Jan.

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Ikea launches furniture with inbuilt wireless chargers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Minimum wage in 1 Oakland jumps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
PayPal to acquire mobile wallet provider Paydient

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Costco strikes credit card deal with Citi, Visa

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 2 Comments

 
Bill Gates repeats at top of Forbes’ list of billionaires

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

HP’s big deal: Tech giant buys Aruba Networks for $2.7B

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Dot-com deja vu: Nasdaq tops 5,000, approaching record high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Wizard of Id March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Dilbert March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4