Tonalist wins Belmont Stakes, denies California Chrome Triple Crown

Al Bello

The Triple Crown drought will last one more year.

California Chrome will not be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Tonalist won the 2014 Belmont Stakes, making California Chrome the 13th horse in the last 36 years to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but fail to capture the Belmont. California Chrome finished the race tied for fourth.

California Chrome broke well, but got pinned up against the rail a bit early on. He was able to get out to the outside and appeared to be in very good position down the stretch. The field turned four-wide in the final turn and California Chrome made an initial surge, but didn't have enough left in the tank to pull away from the field. He instead faded, with Tonalist and Commissioner going neck-and-neck to the finish line, with Tonalist just edging out Commissioner for the win. Tonalist ran out of gate No. 11. The horse was 12-1 before the start of the race.

California Chrome joins a list that includes Big Brown (2008), Smarty Jones (2004), Funny Cide (2003) and War Emblem (2002) as horses who have fallen short of the Triple Crown at the Belmont. The race is historically challenging in part because it's the longest of the three Triple Crown events at a mile and a half.

There remain just 11 Triple Crown winners in the history of thoroughbred horse racing. The feat was accomplished three times in the 1970s by Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed, and hasn't happened since.

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