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California Chrome is seen with bloodied foot after Belmont Stakes loss

SportsHorse RacingBelmont StakesTriple CrownPreakness StakesBob BaffertKentucky Derby
California Chrome suffers bloody gash in Belmont Stakes, which may have hurt chances in Triple Crown bid
Commissioner nearly became the latest long shot to win the Belmont Stakes, losing to Tonalist in photo finish

California Chrome sustained a bloody gash to his right front foot during the Belmont Stakes, an injury that may have hurt his chances in his failed bid to sweep the Triple Crown for the first time in 36 years.

Photos taken while the horse was walking back to the barn after his loss in the third leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday show the injured hoof.

It isn't clear when the injury happened, but the colt's camp says it's not serious. Chrome finished in a dead heat for fourth with Wicked Strong.

The horse was the overwhelming favorite in the Belmont and his supporters were hoping he would become the first Triple Crown champion since Affirmed in 1978.

Good run by Commissioner

Commissioner nearly became the latest long shot to win the Belmont Stakes, losing to Tonalist in a photo finish as a 28-1 shot Saturday.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said all along his horse had the perfect pedigree to run 1 1/2 miles at Belmont Park. He had dreamed of saddling him in the Belmont from the first days he worked with the colt.

"He ran super," Pletcher said. "I didn't anticipate that we would be on the lead, but we weren't going to take away anything they gave us. He was almost good enough today."

Like Tonalist, Commissioner did not run in either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown. He also finished second behind Tonalist in the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 10.

Norumbega wins Brooklyn

Stuart Janney III, co-owner of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, did not enter a horse in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, but he came away a winner in a big undercard race.

Norumbega, owned by Janney and trained by Shug McGaughey, stalked the front-runners in the 126th running of the Brooklyn Invitational and charged to victory in the third race on the Belmont Stakes card.

Joel Rosario, who brought Orb from well back in the giant field to win the Derby last year, held Norumbega in the middle of the seven-horse field before overtaking Micromanage and Cat Burglar to win the $500,000 Grade II stakes.

Social Inclusion falls short

Social Inclusion, originally expected to set the early pace in the Belmont Stakes, left the day with a third-place finish in the 7-furlong Woody Stephens. He was bested by another speedy Preakness horse, Bayern, who won impressively under Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens.

"You just have to draw a line through the Preakness," said Bayern's trainer, Bob Baffert. "He lost all chance at the start. We were up against it here because we drew the [No.] 1 hole. He left the gate running, set some serious fractions and finished very strong."

Owner Ron Sanchez pulled Social Inclusion from the Belmont field after he struggled in the starting gate early in the week.

"He got a perfect trip, I guess," said Social Inclusion's jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr. "That horse that won, won very good. It's tough."

Queen of the fillies

Perhaps the second-most anticipated showdown of the day occurred in the $1-million Ogden Phipps Stakes, which pitted three of the nation's best fillies.

In a mild upset, Close Hatches beat Princess of Sylmar by a head and finished soundly ahead of even-money favorite Beholder.

"I think when they advertised that this race would be held on this particular day, I think everybody started pointing to it," said Close Hatches' trainer, Bill Mott. "There was a lot of buildup to it, at least for us."

Record handle at Belmont

The New York Racing Assn. announced $90.3 million was bet on the Belmont, easily a record. The previous mark was $68 million in 2004 when Smarty Jones was trying to win the Triple Crown. The total handle for the day at Belmont was $150.3 million.

Childs Walker and Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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