Unfortunately for the record books, the answer is no. With Tonalist and jockey Joel Rosario taking the win in the big race, California Chrome ended his quest for the Triple Crown in 5th place.
The top standings for the Belmont Stakes are:
3. Medal Count
4. Wicked Strong
5. California Chrome
“This is the coward’s way out!” owner Steve Coburn repeated with anger after the loss.
At least California Chrome has a good chance at the Triple Crown. The horse dominated the competition to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. On the day of the Stakes, odds on California Chrome to win varied between 3/5 and 4/5 — far higher than other horses in the race (nearest rival, Wicked Strong, has hovered around 5-1). While this is hardly a guarantee of a win at Belmont (a track where many front-runners falter), it was a good sign.
1978 was the last time a Triple Crown horse won at Belmont, when Affirmed did so. 10 other horses had done so before, but none have done so in 36 years. While 12 horses have come into the Belmont Stakes as Triple Crown hopefuls, none have succeeded. The most recent possibility, I’ll Have Another in 2012, didn’t even run due to a tendon injury. Big Brown (2008), Smarty Jones (2004), War Emblem (2002), Real Quiet (1998), Sunday Silence (1989), Toss in Alysheba (1987) and Spectacular Bid (1979) are all among those who missed
Trained by Art and Alan Sherman, jockeyed by Victor Espinoza and owned by Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome looked set to win. But it was not to be. Another year has missed its chance for the Triple Crown.