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Tonalist wins Belmont Stakes, dashing California Chrome's Triple Crown hopes

Travis Lindquist/Getty Images

As Tonalist celebrated a win at the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes, a horse that swept up the nation's collective hopes faded to fourth.

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California Chrome, led by jockey Victor Espinoza, appeared a little off his usual stride today, never getting out ahead of the leaders, and eventually dead-heating for fourth place.

"A little tired…today he was a little bit flat," Espinoza said afterward. "I was nice and comfortable…he just don't have that today….I think it was tough for him, running back-to-back races on different tracks."

Co-owner Steve Coburn took a stronger stance in a post-race interview, saying that as long as some horses do not run the previous two races — the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness — the chances for a Triple Crown winner are scant.

"The coward's way out," he called owners who cherry-pick races.

Tonalist's jockey, Joel Rosario, said his victory was a little bittersweet in a post-race interview.

"Well, this is very important to me like always, and here we are, this is great,” Rosario said. But, "I'm a little bit sad about California Chrome."

The Triple Crown drought reaches 36 years, and we'll have to wait until next year to see if a horse can create history.