Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

June 4, 2014

HORSE RACING: California Chrome favored in Belmont

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.

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Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
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