June 5, 2014
California Chrome will go for Triple Crown immortality in Saturday’s G1 Belmont Stakes. Standing before the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner is a grueling mile-and-a-half journey and a slew of tough rivals, including a duo by Lane’s End sires.
Maybe the biggest obstacle to California Chrome is the Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin, the battle-hardened colt who will aim to give CURLIN a second straight renewal of the Classic, following Palace Malice’s win a year ago.
Ride On Curlin is a Lane’s End sales grad, just like seven other Belmont winners: A.P. INDY, Bet Twice, Jazil, LEMON DROP KID, Palace Malice, Rags to Riches, and Thunder Gulch.
The Daniel Dougherty-owned, Billy Gowan-trained Ride On Curlin ran a fast-closing third in the G1 Champagne S. last fall over Big Sandy. He gets the services of local ace John Velazquez, who guided Rags to Riches (A.P. INDY) and UNION RAGS to Belmont glory in 2007 and 2012, respectively.
A.P. INDY’s impact is felt all over the Belmont. Of the Classic’s 11 contenders, five are by A.P. INDY-line stallions, while WinStar homebred Commissioner is by A.P. INDY himself. Runner-up to Tonalist in a sloppy renewal of the G2 Peter Pan S. at Belmont last out May 10, Commissioner is a half to the talented Grade 1 performer Laugh Track. He’s trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
Best of luck to California Chrome and to all the horses in this year’s Belmont Stakes!