Belmont Stakes

Saturday June 7, 2014: Belmont Park

The day before the race:

After schooling in the Belmont paddock, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome heads to the track for a gallop with exercise rider Willie Delgado. At right is assistant trainer Alan Sherman.
For this homebred colt from California, winning the Belmont Stakes would also mean winning the Triple Crown something last accomplished by Affirmed in 1978.
Wicked Strong, working on the training track under Kelvin Pahal, was fourth in the Kentucky Derby, is based in New York, and has already won a race at Belmont.
Pahal struggles to slow the colt at the end of their gallop. Sired by Hard Spun and trained by Jimmy Jerkins, Wicked Strong is considered by many to be the biggest threat to California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes.
Medal Count arrives at the main track . . .
. . . where Samraat is already having his morning exercise.
Members of the media focus nearly all their attention, as well as their cameras, on California Chrome, who is back at barn 26 following his gallop.
Inside the same barn, trainer Billy Gowan walks the shedrow with Ride On Curlin, who finished second to California Chrome in the Preakness and will face him again on Saturday.

Race Day:

Fans crowd the area around the paddock, holding signs to show their support for California Chrome and their hope that he will win the Belmont Stakes and with it the Triple Crown.
Tonalist, trained by Christophe Clement, is the first of the Belmont contenders to enter the paddock.
Commanding Curve, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan . . .
. . . and Matuszak are among the eleven horses that will contest the Belmont Stakes.
Of the Belmont contenders, only General a Rod (left), California Chrome (below, with Victor Espinoza) and Ride On Curlin ran in both the Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
Commissioner, Javier Castellano up, is one of two horses in the race trained by Todd Pletcher.
Matterhorn (Pletcher's other trainee), ridden by Joe Bravo, makes contact with California Chrome as they leave the gate.
As the horses (from right, Medal Count, California Chrome, Matterhorn and Commanding Curve) race toward the first turn, Victor Espinoza looks to see who's advancing on his right.
From left, Tonalist, racing four-wide in the stretch, passes Medal Count, General a Rod and Samraat, on his way to catching front-runner Commissioner.

Tonalist (#11) wins the Belmont Stakes by a head; Commissioner, right, is second and Medal Count is third. California Chrome finished in a dead heat with Wicked Strong for fourth.
Tonalist, ridden to victory in the Belmont Stakes by Joel Rosario, was originally pointed toward the Kentucky Derby but was sidelined by illness in the spring.
Connections of the winning horse embrace in the winner's circle.
Tonalist is trained by Christophe Clement and owned by Robert Evans. The colt is by Tapit out of Settling Mist, whose sire, Pleasant Colony, won the Kenucky Derby and Preakness in 1981 and was third in the Belmont Stakes. He was owned by Robert Evans' father.
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