California Chrome is the 3-5 morning line favorite to win the 146th Belmont Stakes and become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. Even if picking a horse to accomplish such a rare feat seems like a stretch considering how many horses have come this close, many experts picked California Chrome to win, while others couldn't pull the trigger on predicting a Triple Crown win.
Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated said the 36-year Triple Crown-less streak has gained mystique over the years, but he thinks California Chrome will win for the same reason he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes: He's the fastest, most versatile horse in the field.
ESPN.com's Bob Ehalt chose California Chrome to win based on Chrome's ability to relax and push into gear when jockey Victor Espinoza has asked him to. Ehalt chose Wicked Strong to place and Preakness Stakes runner-up Ride On Curlin to show.
The Sporting News' panel of experts was generally mixed with a popular sentiment: California Chrome is probably the best horse, but after 36 years, it's tough to say any horse will be the one to break the drought. Among others, Chris Andrews predicted that Tonalist is capable of pulling the upset, with fresh legs and a win in the Peter Pan Stakes, a popular Belmont Stakes prep race.
Louisville Courier-Journal handicapper J.J. Hysell picked Wicked Strong as choice to top California Chrome. She picked Chrome to finish second and Commanding Curve, which she said reminds her of 1998 Belmont Stakes champion Victory Gallop, to finish third.