NEW YORK - California Chrome is the 3-5 early favorite to win the Belmont Stakes and become horse racing's 12th Triple Crown champion.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will break from the No. 2 post under Victor Espinoza on Saturday at Belmont Park. Eleven Belmont winners have come out of that post, the last being Tabasco Cat in 1994.
Wicked Strong was the 6-1 second choice and drew post No. 9 on Wednesday. The colt finished fourth after an unlucky trip in the Derby and sat out the Preakness.
Tonalist was made the third betting choice at 8-1 odds and will break from the No. 11 post.
Eleven horses were entered to take on California Chrome in his bid to win the Triple Crown for the first time since Affirmed swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1978.
This is the first time a California horse is making a run at the Triple Crown. California Chrome's trainer, 77-year-old San Diegan Art Sherman, told 10News last week that back in September 2013, the Triple Crown was a distant dream. California Chrome had finished 6th at a race in Del Mar, but caught the eye of veteran jockey Espinoza.
Espinoza reportedly saw the horse at Del Mar, got on his phone with his agent and said he would love to ride him. That got back to Sherman and months later, he paired his horse with Espinoza.
Since then, the horse has won six straight.