Three races in five weeks too tough for California Chrome

California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by Art Sherman, was the 13th horse since the 1978 sweep by Affirmed to capture the first two jewels of the crown only to come up empty in the 2,400m Belmont, dubbed the "Test of the Champion."

Espinoza (above) has now ridden two of those horses, also failing aboard War Emblem in 2002.

"He just didn't have it today," Espinoza said, of California Chrome.

He didn't think it was the 2,400m distance of the US$1.5 million ($1.87 million) race - the longest any of the 11 horses in the field had faced - that was California Chrome's undoing.

Instead, he thought the rigours of the Triple Crown - three races in five weeks - had taken a toll.

It was a gruelling road trip for the horse, who had never raced outside his home state until his May 3 Kentucky Derby victory at Louisville.

"I think it was tough for him," Espinoza said.

"Right now, it's back-to-back races and different tracks with all these fresh horses." - AFP.