ELMONT, N.Y. - California Chrome’s final quest for the Triple Crown will begin from post 2, and the colt was installed as the heavy favorite against a relatively sizable field when the post positions were drawn and morning line established for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, to be contested Saturday
California Chrome, seeking to become the 12th Triple Crown winner, and first since Affirmed in 1978, is the 3-5 morning line favorite in the field of 11 entered Wednesday morning. The field assembled would be the largest Belmont group defeated by a Triple Crown winner; Citation (1948) and Seattle Slew (1977) each faced seven rivals.
California Chrome has won six consecutive races by a combined margin of 29 1/2 lengths. He prevailed in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with confident early handling from jockey Victor Espinoza, who secured solid position early from post 6 and post 3, respectively. Espinoza will need to turn in a similar performance here with California Chrome down toward the inside of the gate.
Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, landed in post 9 and is the 6-1 second choice on the morning line. Tonalist, winner of the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont, is the third choice at 8-1.
California Chrome, Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin in post 5, and General a Rod, who drew post 10, will be the only horses to start in all three legs of the Triple Crown.
The Belmont, with a post time of 6:52 p.m. Eastern, anchors a blockbuster 13-race card that includes nine other stakes, five of those Grade 1. The Belmont will be televised on an NBC broadcast beginning at 4:30 p.m.