As many as 11 foes could line up to attempt to derail the Triple Crown bid of California Chrome, who is seeking to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
According to the most recent Belmont Stakes betting odds released by Odds Shark, the Art Sherman trainee is the heavy favorite to accomplish the feat, currently at odds of even money.
Let's take a look at the projected field and betting odds for the Belmont Stakes (final entries and post positions will be drawn on Wednesday, June 4):
California Chrome 1/1
Six straight wins for the colt and an impressive workout in his final tune-up on Saturday, May 31 will send this strapping colt to the third jewel of the Triple Crown as the heavy favorite. But keep in mind we thought Big Brown (1/5 odds in 2008) and Smarty Jones (1/5 odds in 2004) where locks too, and both came up short.
His excellence has plunged Triple Crown odds from 15-1 at the start of the Derby trail to even odds today at many racebooks.
Ride On Curlin 5/1
This colt is the only other that will compete in all three jewels of the Triple Crown. After a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby he was making up ground late in the Preakness, coming up 1 ½ lengths short of catching the winner. With the longer distance of the Belmont Stakes, if the favorite gets leg weary, this is the colt that should be coming late.
Commanding Curve 15/2
Trained by Dallas Stewart, this colt came from the back of the pack in the Kentucky Derby to rally from 18th to second, beaten 1 ¾ lengths at betting odds of 38/1. This is another colt that should be rolling late, and since 2000 there have been seven runners that competed in the Derby, bypassed the Preakness and were victorious in the Belmont Stakes.
This colt will be making his Triple Crown debut, making his last start a winning one in the Peter Pan Stakes on May 10 over the Belmont Park main track. Ruler On Ice (2011) was the last Belmont Stakes winner to skip the first two jewels of the Triple Crown. With just four starts under his belt and one stake, he may have more upside than any in the field.
Wicked Strong 9/1
Here is another runner that ran in the Kentucky Derby (4th) and skipped the Preakness. The colt had a tough post in the Derby and did not have the cleanest of trips, beaten 5 ¾ lengths for the top spot. His career best effort was a good looking win in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in his final Derby prep.
Medal Count 14/1
The Dale Romans trainee was eighth in the Kentucky Derby and had some traffic troubles in the race. The colt has done his best work on polytrack at Keeneland, winning the off the turf Transylvania and then running second in the Toyota Blue Grass. The colt has a long winded pedigree and will be flying under the radar leading up to the race.
And Down The Stretch They Come
And Down The Stretch They Come
The colt was a terror in New York, winning his first five starts and then running a good second to Wicked Strong in the Wood for his first defeat. He was in the mix early in the Kentucky Derby but did not have enough punch left late, weakening to finish fifth, beaten 5 ¾ lengths. The extra distance of the Belmont Stakes does not suit him, but if the pace is slow, he could be around until late.
Trainer Todd Pletcher won the race last year with Palace Malice and this colt appears to be his best shot this year. The colt was no match for Tonalist in the Peter Pan, beaten four lengths, but the colt does appear to be on the improve and is bred to handle the 1 ½ mile distance.
This is the second of the Pletcher duo and the colt is coming off a fourth place finish in the Peter Pan, which was his stakes debut. His lone victory was his maiden score in his debut, and then he came up short in a couple of tries against first level allowance foes. The colt figures to be one of the biggest prices in the field.
Social Inclusion 33/1
The connections seem to be leaning toward skipping the Belmont and running in the Woody Stephens on Saturday. The colt was the beaten favorite in the Wood, and then took some action in the Preakness, sent off at 5-1 where he was beaten eight lengths in a third place finish. The colt seems more suited to a mile, and the 1 ½ miles of the Belmont Stakes may be beyond his reach.
Kid Cruz 40/1
Trainer Linda Rice said the colt may skip the race after he was a disappointing eighth in the Preakness. The colt was impressive beating up on softer winning the Private Terms and Federico Tesio, but does not look good enough to compete against top company.
The colt had some traffic troubles in the Tesio where he finished second to Kid Cruz. His two tries in graded company were a sixth in the Remsen and a fourth in the Jerome. He does have Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott calling the shots and the trainer won the 2010 Belmont Stakes with Drosselmeyer, who returned $28.00 for the win.
For the latest betting odds for the Belmont Stakes and expert selections, check out TurfnSport.com