1. Rested Field
California Chrome has beaten two great fields at Churchill Downs and Pimlico. However, his top three challengers (Commanding Curve, Wicked Strong and Samraat), all skipped the Preakness and are rested and ready.
2. The Race Is Longggg.
The Belmont Stakes is the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1 1/2 miles. This is more a test of stamina than it is of pure speed.
3. Tired Horse
California Chrome has to deal with fatigue. He was shipped from California to Churchill Downs, to Pimlico, and now New York for the Belmont. Factor in the extra attention that California Chrome has been getting because of his success, and that makes for a worn out horse.
4. Ride On Curlin
Ride On Curlin may be able to take advantage of the extra length. He seemed to be closing in on the champion at Pimlico in the final 200 yards. Who knows what difference a couple of extra furlongs would have made?
California Chrome jockey Victor Espinoza has faced this exact scenario before, aboard War Emblem in 2002. But, the steed stumbled out of the gates, and finished eighth dashing his triple crown dream.