ELMONT, N.Y. – Another Triple Crown down the drain.
Tonalist, with Joel Rosario riding, posted a narrow victory over Commissioner in the 146th Belmont Stakes before a packed house Saturday at Belmont Park as California Chrome faded in the final furlong to finish in a dead heat for fourth, becoming the 12th Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to fail in the Test of the Champion since Affirmed became the last horse to sweep the Triple Crown in 1978.
Tonalist, owned by Robert S. Evans and trained by Christophe Clement, returned $20.40 after finishing the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2:28.52 over a fast track. Commissioner, on the lead throughout under Javier Castellano at 28-1, only gave way in the final yards when losing by a head. Medal Count, a 24-1 shot, was third, another length back, while California Chrome dead-heated for fourth with Wicked Strong, another three-quarters of a length back.
California Chrome, the 4-5 favorite under Victor Espinoza, made a menacing outside move in upper stretch but had no final punch. Near the early lead while saving ground, he was angled out on the final turn and had every chance to go past Commissioner, but it was Tonalist who closed best while California Chrome labored home.