Tonalist Foils California Chrome's Triple Crown Bid at Belmont Stakes

The Triple Crown drought continues, as California Chrome became the 13th horse since 1978 to fail to win the Belmont after victories in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Pedigree proved the victor over the more modestly bred California colt, as Tonalist finished ahead of Commissioner (second place) and Medal Count (third). California Chrome underwhelmed to a fourth-place finish. Tonalist, trained by Christophe Clement, is a Tapit colt, while California Chrome raised eyebrows after winning six straight races in the first two legs of the Triple Crown under a combined $10,500 pedigree. Chrome's jockey Victor Espinoza said that his horse "just didn't have it today." The horse's working class owner thinks he knows why.

Claiming that his horse had a "target on his back," California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn claimed the system in place is the reason that there have been so few Triple Crown winners. Likening the Triple Crown to a triathlon where you must compete in all three segments of that event, Coburn believes that only horses which qualified for the Kentucky Derby and also ran the Preakness should be allowed in the Belmont. A case can certainly be made on that point, as Tonalist came into the Belmont Stakes fresh, not having run in the Preakness. Probably more than a little emotional after a failed Triple Crown bid, Coburn stated that, "this is the coward's way out." He was referring to horses which do not run in the previous two Triple Crown legs, creating a very difficult scenario for his horse and the other couple which ran three strenuous races in five weeks.

Espinoza echoed Coburn's belief in a more discreet manner, saying that the Belmont was tough for Chrome, especially with "all those fresh horses." The upstart colt which was a fan favorite also appeared to have injured her foot after an early bump. Tonalist jockey Joel Rosario called the win bittersweet, stating that he would have only been happy with second place if California Chrome got the victory. Both Tonalist and Commissioner passed on the Preakness and Kentucky Derby, and Medal Count scored a disappointing eighth place finish in the Derby, skipping the Preakness. California Chrome trainer Art Sherman said a combination of "all kinds of trouble" and the minor hoof injury led to the loss. However, he did positively point to the 6 straight victories compiled by the talented colt that was virtually unknown and unnoticed until its Santa Anita Derby victory.

In other equestrian action, Australia continued to live up to a talented pedigree with a huge win in the Investec Derby at Epsom in England. Kingston Hill fought valiantly and finished second, but the victory by Australia was never in question near the end of the race. The next possible race for Australia is the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, and any race run by the colt which is an offspring of a regal Ouija Board - Galileo pairing will see him as a favorite. In this past Friday's Investec Oaks, Sheik Hamdan bin Rasheed al Maktoum took home a first and second. Taghrooda overcame a 1 1/2 mile track and remain undefeated, and Tarfasha finished next, just ahead of third-place Volume.

Cirrus Des Aigles took home the Investec Coronation Cup title on Saturday, with jockey Christophe Soumillon pushing the eight-year-old to an impressive surge in the final furlong for the victory. In Japan, Just A Way won the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo Racecourse, edging ahead of Grand Prix Boss by a neck at the finish. With the important Triple Crown races out of the way, legal horse betting terms to the summer schedule. The third week in July kicks off summertime action, with eyes on the Saratoga Race Course $1 million Travers Stakes and the Del Mar $1 million Pacific Classic in August. The Breeders' Cup race card at Santa Anita Park on November 1 and 2 is also one of the most popular horse racing bets of the year, finishing out the season. Return here weekly for information, odds and news concerning the most popular horse races in the world.

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