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Top News in Thursday's TDN
Chrome Gets the Two-Hole for Attempt at History
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Steven Coburn and Perry Martin’s Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) was installed as the 3-5 morning-line favorite to become the first horse to sweep the series since Affirmed in 1978 in Saturday’s $1.5-million GI Belmont S. at the Long Island oval. The flashy chestnut colt was assigned post number two, leaving connections reasonably satisfied. "Going a mile and a half, it’s a good post position and at least we’ll save some ground there," trainer Art Sherman told NYRA’s Andy Serling. "It gives you a chance to see where the speed is going to come from." Injecting further confidence, assistant trainer Alan Sherman pointed out that during his Triple Crown run back in 1973, Secretariat won from post five in the Kentucky Derby and from post three in the Preakness before scoring his 31-length demolition from the two hole at Big Sandy. California Chrome will look to follow suit. Centennial Farms GI Wood Memorial hero Wicked Strong (Hard Spun) is the second choice at 6-1 to repeat his Wood performance and to improve on his fourth-place effort at Churchill Downs and will rally from off the pace while exiting post nine. Centennial won the 1993 Belmont with Colonial Affair. Robert S. Evans’s TDN Rising Star Tonalist (Tapit), a front-running winner of the GII Peter Pan S. when last seen May 10, is likely to be given a postive ride from Joel Rosario after being assigned the widest gate in the field of 11. General a Rod (Roman Ruler), fourth in the Preakness and a late addition to the Belmont field, will break just to the inside of Tonalist and could not only fuel the early pace, but could force Victor Espinoza on California Chrome into an early decision as to whether to go from the low draw or ease back and try to stalk whatever pace materializes. Trainer Billy Gowan was also pleased with the five hole for Ride On Curlin (Curlin), who along with California Chrome and General a Rod, are the only three horses that will have contested each of the three races of this year’s Triple Crown. After several days of speculation, Preakness third-place finisher Social Inclusion (Pioneerof the Nile) was not among the Belmont entrants. The Belmont, which anchors a spectacular and star-studded day of racing, is scheduled to jump at 6:52 p.m. ET and will be televised on NBC.

Saturday, Belmont Park, post time: 6:52 p.m. EDT 

BELMONT S.-GI, $1,500,000, 3yo, 1 1/2m

1 Medal Count K Dynaformer 20-1
($360,000 yrl ‘12 KEESEP)

O-Spendthrift Farm LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings (KY);
T-Dale Romans; J-Robby Albarado. Lifetime Record: 8-3-1-0, $261,600.
Last Start: 8th GI Kentucky Derby
2 California Chrome Lucky Pulpit 3-5

O/B-Steven Coburn & Perry Martin (CA); T-Art Sherman; J-Victor Espinoza. Lifetime Record: 12-8-1-0, $3,452,650.
Last Start: WON GI Preakness S. May 17
3 Matterhorn K Tapit 30-1
($110,000 yrl ‘12 KEESEP; $625,000 2yo ‘13 FTMMAR)

O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners; B-Town & Country Farm Corp (KY);
T-Todd A Pletcher; J-Joe Bravo. Lifetime Record: 4-1-0-1, $62,102.
Last Start: 4th GII Peter Pan S.
4 Commanding Curve Master Command 15-1

($60,000 yrl ‘12 FTKOCT; $75,000 yrl ‘13 OBSAPR)

O-West Point Thoroughbreds; B-T F VanMeter (KY); T-Dallas Stewart;
J-Shaun Bridgmohan. Lifetime Record: 7-1-2-2, $542,434.
Last Start: 2nd GI Kentucky Derby May 3
5 Ride On Curlin K Curlin 12-1
($25,000 yrl ‘12 KEESEP)

O-Daniel J Dougherty; B-G Watts Humphrey Jr & Louise Ireland Humphrey Revocable Trust (KY); T-Billy Gowan; J-John Velazquez. Lifetime Record: 11-2-3-4, $714,687.
Last Start: 2nd GI Preakness S.
6 Matuszak Bernardini 30-1
O-George J Prussin; B-Sha-Li Leasing Associates Inc (KY); T-Bill Mott;
J-Mike Smith. Lifetime Record: 8-1-1-2, $78,643.
Last Start: 2nd Federico Tesio S. Apr. 19
7 Samraat Noble Causeway 20-1

O/B-My Meadowview Farm LLC (NY); T-Richard Violette Jr; J-Jose Ortiz. Lifetime Record: 7-5-1-0, $833,200.
Last Start: 5th GI Kentucky Derby
8 Commissioner A.P. Indy 20-1

O/B-WinStar Farm LLC (KY); T-Todd A Pletcher; J-Javier Castellano. Lifetime Record: 7-2-2-1, $235,767.
Last Start: 2nd GII Peter Pan S. May 10
9 Wicked Strong K Hard Spun 6-1
($375,000 yrl ‘12 KEESEP)

O-Centennial Farms; B-William F Lynn (KY); T-James Jerkens; J-Rajiv Maragh. Lifetime Record: 7-2-1-1, $804,610.
Last Start: 4th GI Kentucky Derby
10 General a Rod Roman Ruler 20-1
($100,000 yrl ‘12 FTKJUL; $72,000 yrl ‘12 FTKOCT)

O-Starlight Racing & Skychai Racing; B-Hare Forest Farm (KY); T-Mike Maker; J-Rosie Napravnik. Lifetime Record: 7-2-2-1, $372,200.
Last Start: 4th GI Preakness S.
11 Tonalist Tapit 8-1
($195,000 RNA yrl ‘12 FTSAUG)

O-Robert S Evans; B-Woodslane Farm (KY); T-Christophe Clement; J-Joel Rosario. Lifetime Record: 4-2-1-0, $157,000.
Last Start: WON GII Peter Pan S.

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