sport

Triple Crown dream is over

California Chrome failed in his bid to make history as he met with defeat in the Belmont Stakes in New York.

The Art Sherman-trained Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes hero was attempting to become the first winner of the American Triple Crown since Affirmed and Steve Cauthen in 1978.

Stepping up to a mile and a half in the so-called 'Test of the Champion', California Chrome was again partnered by Victor Espinoza, who was also denied Triple Crown glory when War Emblem was eighth in the 2002 Belmont.

The heavily-backed Lucky Pulpit colt had every chance turning for home and hopes were high, but the petrol tank began to run on empty down the stretch and he could only dead-heat for fourth in the end as Tonalist snatched victory on the line.

In an industry where speed is increasingly of the essence, the mile and a half around Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, really takes some getting and has become a graveyard for Classic stars.

Twelve horses have now tried to complete the famous treble since Affirmed, including such luminaries as Spectacular Bid (1979), Alysheba (1987), Sunday Silence (1989) and Silver Charm (1997).

In 1998, Real Quiet failed by just a nose, while the last to bid for glory before California Chrome had been Big Brown, who was injured in the 2008 Belmont. I'll Have Another won the Derby and Preakness in 2012 but suffered a career-ending tendon injury on the eve of the Belmont.

The race is the oldest of the three American jewels, pre-dating the Preakness by six years and the Kentucky Derby by eight, having been established at Jerome Park in 1866.