The handsome chestnut colt emerged from Saturday’s victory at Pimlico Race Course in good order, said trainer Art Sherman, and likely would have one work at Belmont Park in the three-week interim between the Preakness and the 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion.”
Beginning with Sir Barton in 1919, only 11 horses have swept the series, with Affirmed in 1978 the most recent. Since then, 12 horses have won the Derby and Preakness but none have won the Belmont.
Sherman said he thought the California-bred California Chrome, winner of six straight races, was up to the task.
“I have a good feeling about it,” he said Sunday morning. “I’m really confident going into this race. After watching him run yesterday with two weeks [in between the Derby and Preakness] and showing the courage that he had. I don’t care how many fresh shooters they’ve got there; he’s the real McCoy.”
Joining California Chrome on the van will be Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin, also bound for the Belmont Stakes.
“I thought he ran huge,” said trainer Billy Gowan said. “He trained great all week and he ran just like I thought he would, if you want to know the truth.”
Another Preakness starter under consideration for the Belmont is third-place finisher Social Inclusion, who is scheduled to arrive in New York on Friday. General A Rod (4th), Ring Weekend (5th) and Kid Cruz (8th) are questionable.
Rounding out the Belmont probables are Commanding Curve, Danza, Wicked Strong, and Samraat, the second, third, fourth and fifth-place finishers from the Derby; along with Tonalist and Commissioner, who were first and second, respectively, in the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont, and Intense Holiday, who was 12th in the Derby.