Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome walked the shed row Sunday morning after logging his final breeze before the June 7 Belmont Stakes on Saturday in front of a crowd of adoring spectators at Belmont Park.
The son of Lucky Pulpit went four furlongs in :47 3/5 under regular rider Victor Espinoza, and galloped out monstrously. He was caught in :59 4/5 for five furlongs by NYRA clockers, 1:12 4/5 for six, and 1:26 1/5 for seven over a tightly packed Belmont oval.
"Chrome came out of the work in great shape," said Alan Sherman, son of California Chrome's trainer Art Sherman. "He was pulling (exercise rider) Willie (Delgado) around the shed row this morning. Everything is cold and tight and we're ready for Saturday."
Should he become the first horse in 36 years to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, California Chrome would join Count Fleet (1943) and Citation (1948) as Triple Crown winners whose name begins with the letter "C." However, the letter "C" is the most popular first initial for Belmont Stakes winners, having taken 20 editions, beginning with Calvin in 1875 and most recently Commendable in 2000.
Belmont Stakes contender Tonalist put in his final serious work before the June 7 "Test of the Champion" on Saturday morning at Belmont Park. The bay colt was clocked in 1:00 for five furlongs, working in company with stablemate Life In Shambles.
"He came out of his work in good order," said Tonalist's trainer, Christophe Clement. "He looked great this morning. He jogged a mile and a half and went to the gate, standing in it and going back out, just regular schooling that we always do the day after the work. He will be back tomorrow and be back to his normal routine."
The likely second or third choice in the betting behind California Chrome, Tonalist enters the Belmont Stakes off a four-length score in the Grade 2 Peter Pan. He has made only four starts in his career, with two wins and a second-place finish to his credit.