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2014 Belmont Stakes Contenders: Ride On Curlin

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Ride On Curlin is ready to turn the tables on California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes after finishing second in the Preakness.

Al Bello

Ride On Curlin

Ride_on_curlin_medium

Trainer: William Gowen
Jockey: John Velazquez
Sire: Curlin
Damsire: Storm Cat (Magical Ride)

Record: 11-2-3-4
Earnings: $714,687

Notable Races: G1-Preakness (2nd); G1-Kentucky Derby (7th); G1-Arkansas Derby (2nd); G2-Rebel (3rd); G3-Southwest (3rd); G1-Champagne (3rd); G3-Iroquois (4th)

Strengths

Ride On Curlin is about as consistent of a colt as you'll find in this year's three year old crop with a top three finish in eight of his 10 lifetime starts. He had a rough trip in the Derby but ran on gamely in the later stages and moved forward off of that race to a good second to California Chrome in the Preakness. He's versatile enough to run up near the pace or from well back in the field, a running style that should allow him to turn in a strong effort at Belmont.

Weaknesses

One of the questions some of us have regarding California Chrome is how much does he have left in the tank after three races in five weeks. If we're asking that question of Chrome, we also have to ask it of Ride On Curlin. Beginning with an allowance race at Oaklawn on January 12, Ride On Curlin has run six times in about four-and-a-half months, with the Belmont his seventh race in five months. That's a pretty rugged schedule for a non-claiming horse in today's game. I'm not sure how much the frequent racing should really bother anyone because, as we've witnessed over the past couple of months, Ride On Curlin is an extremely fit colt. If his big run in the Preakness didn't take too much out of him, he should be good for another strong race on Saturday.

Final Thoughts

If we're making a short list of colts that are most likely to upset the California Chrome coronation, Ride On Curlin has to right up near the top of the page. Not only has he put forth quality efforts against the top three-year-old colts in the country in race after race this spring, but I still get the feeling this colt has another level he can get to if he can just put it all together. Ignore him on your tickets at your own risk.