Tonalist Wins Belmont Stakes and Dashes California Chrome's Triple Crown Dreams

Tonalist Wins Belmont
Associated Press
Tonalist, left, with Joel Rosario up edges out Commissioner with Javier Castellano up to win the Belmont Stakes.

Colt Tonalist won the Belmont Stakes today, beating betting favorite California Chrome in his ultimately fruitless quest for horse racing's first Triple Crown in 36 years. Jockey Joel Rosario and Tonalist finished the race with an unofficial time of 2:28.52, followed by Commissioner, Medal Count and — in a dead heat for fourth — California Chrome and Wicked Strong.

And so the Triple Crown drought drags on another year: No horse has won it since Affirmed achieved the feat in 1978.

This wouldn't have been an easy race for any horse. At 1 1/2 miles, the Belmont Stakes is the longest of the Triple Crown's three jewels — earning it the nickname "The Test of the Champion." Chrome's co-owner, a noticeably upset Steve Coburn, called it "a coward's way out," bitterly opining that it wasn't fair for Tonalist to run the Belmont without having run the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

Thanks to his underdog story and modest pedigree, Chrome swiftly transformed into the people's champion through the first two races. Chrome's co-owners Perry Martin and Coburn purchased his dam, Love the Chase, for $8,000, a price many observers believed to be much too high. She was bred to Lucky Pulpit in 2010, and California Chrome — nicknamed "Junior" — was foaled Feb. 18, 2011, in Coalinga, California.

Now a tough day draws to a close for disappointed "Chromies," though it has been a pleasant surprise for fans of Tonalist, who came into the race with 11-1 odds.

If you missed the race or simply want to relive it, check out the video below.


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