Conditions were perfect on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The sun was out, humidity was low and it was in the 70s to 80s throughout the day. Over 100,000 people turned out to watch the 146th annual Belmont Stakes, and to potentially witness California Chrome make history and become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
California Chrome is an American Thoroughbred racehorse bred in California and named for his flashy white markings, called “chrome” by horse aficionados. His bid for the 12th Triple Crown in history, made the 2014 Belmont Stakes one of the most hotly anticipated horse races I can ever remember. Unfortunately, although he made an admirable effort, the long Belmont Park course proved to be too much and he was denied the Triple Crown.
Belmont Stakes is nicknamed the “The Test of the Champion” for a good reason. California Chrome was the 13th horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, and to then fall short at Belmont. Of the three races that comprise the Triple Crown, Belmont is the longest of the tracks, and the final leg of the race. It is held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes, on a Saturday between June 5 and June 11.
The Kentucky Derby course is 1 1/4 miles, the Preakness is 1 3/16 miles and the Belmont Stakes is 1 1/2 miles. It is very hard to win on such a long track, especially for a horse, like California Chrome, that has recently competed in the Preakness and Kentucky Derby.
After the race, the co-owner of California Chrome expressed his displeasure about the fact that Tonalist, a horse that did not compete in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness, unseated his horse to win the Belmont Stakes.
Longines, is the official timekeeper of the Triple Crown, and supplies all the timing equipment for each race, including the photo finish system, via Swiss Timing (Longines and Swiss Timing are both owned by the Swatch Group).