Tonalist wins Belmont Stakes, denying Triple Crown for California Chrome

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Tonalist won the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park, denying California Chrome his shot at becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner and the first since Affirmed in 1978.

California Chrome, who won his previous six starts by a combined 27 1/2 lengths, including the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, finished in a dead heat for fourth under Victor Espinoza. He got a good start, and ran on the rail in striking distance for most of the race. He swung four wide turning for home, but came up empty in the stretch.

Tonalist caught and edged Commissioner by a head at the wire. Medal Count was third.

Tonalist was running in just his fifth race. He won his last race, his stakes debut, the Peter Pan at Belmont.

After the race, one of California Chrome’s owners, Steve Coburn, told NBC that those horses that had skipped one or more legs of the Triple Crown had taken “the coward’s way out.” Both Tonalist and Commissioner ran in neither the Derby nor the Preakness, and Medal Count skipped the Preakness.

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