OK, from a physical aspect, that’s not going to help you much in your handicapping, because it’s hard to find fault in any of the Belmont starters stabled at Belmont Park. So, now we turn to post positions, which could prove virtually meaningless going a mile and a half, although post 11 is not the ideal spot for Tonalist, who will have to break sharply and either get lucky and tuck in somewhere to save ground or take it to them from the get-go and try to clear the field. With a lack of a pure pace horse, that might not be that difficult, although General a Rod, just inside him in post 10, could have the same idea, which could set up an aggressive run into the turn for both horses.
As for California Chrome, post 2 could be good or bad depending on the early scenario. With a relatively slow pace expected and a closely bunched field, and his two pace threats – General a Rod and Tonalist -- drawing the two outside posts and likely gunning, Chrome could be susceptible to gang warfare and being put in a box by General a Rod, Tonalist, and Samraat. But Victor Espinoza may decided to take it to them early and cut that first corner while staying right up there with the leaders.
Medal Count, on the rail, likely will take back and save ground and wait for a hole to open. Commanding Curve, in post 4, also should save ground. Horses can go wide at the top of the stretch at Belmont as long as they save ground going into the far turn. Go wide into the far turn and you’re in danger of getting hung out to dry on that big sweeping turn of no return.
Ride On Curlin breaks from post 5, and his connections are just thrilled he didn’t draw the outside, as he did in the Derby (post 18) Preakness (post 10). The same goes for Wicked Strong, who is a bit out there in post 9, but a far cry from post 19 in the Kentucky Derby. Both colts can take back and make one run or settle somewhere in midpack.
Let’s just hope for a clean break and a clean trip for everyone.
Now, a look at some of the Belmont horses from Tuesday and Wednesday.
The sun seems to explode off California Chrome each morning.
Chrome and Willie Delgado have become quite a pair.
West Point's Terry Finley with Commanding Curve.
As long as Commanding Curve is biting on something he's happy.
Try and find a time when Ride On Curlin does not have his tongue out.
See what I mean?
The look of love. Wicked Strong can do that to you.
The photographers line up for the 6 a.m. Chrome shoot.
Art Sherman and Steve Coburn watch Chrome gallop.