After an exciting, hard-charging finish to capture the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, oddsmakers appear undecided on whether California Chrome will complete the feat for the first time in 36 years.
The three-year-old colt faces odds of 10/13 that he will win the Triple Crown, and 10/11 that he won’t, according to Bovada.lv.
Oddsmakers do have reasons for their skepticism, and it has little to do with California Chrome’s overall talent.
Much of the doubt starts with the longer, and more grueling, track at the Belmont Stakes. At 1 1/2 miles it's by far the longest among the Triple Crown tracks.
Then there’s the recent worry that the New York State Gaming Commission and the state’s Racing Association might not let California Chrome use a nasal strip during the Belmont. Based off reports Sunday, California Chrome’s connections may decide to pull their horse unless he is allowed to use the nasal strip at Belmont.
The strip allows the horse to breathe better, and California Chrome only uses it during races and not in training sessions.
Trainer Art Sherman says he isn’t sure what owners Steve and Carolyn Coburn and Perry and Denise Martin will decide.
"This guy, Perry Martin, he might not run if they say you can't run with a nasal strip. He's very funny about things like that,'' Sherman said. "I don't know why they would ban you from wearing one. We'll have to cross that bridge when we get there.''
There is of course concerns from the rest of the field at Belmont. California Chrome could face a mix of his toughest competitors from the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness on Saturday, June 7.
Commanding Curve, who finished second at the Derby, and Ride On Curlin, the runner-up at the Preakness, are both expected to run.
As is third-place derby finisher Danza, fourth place Wicked Strong and fifth and 12th place Samraat and Intense Holiday, respectively.
Each contender, and jockey aboard, will be gunning for California Chrome from post time until the finish, further complicating what could be an unprecedented and magical run from a horse that had no business in the Triple Crown chase due to his cheaper lineage.
Other than the glory of the Triple Crown, California Chrome could win another $1.5 million purse at Belmont.