Updated: Wednesday, 04 June 2014 04:46 | By Agence France-Presse

Crown contender Chrome stretches legs at Belmont

Triple Crown contender California Chrome continued his preparations for the Belmont Stakes on Tuesday with an easy gallop under the watchful eye of trainer Art Sherman.

Crown contender Chrome stretches legs at Belmont

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, with exercise rider Willie Delgado up, trains on the main track at Belmont Park on June 3, 2014 in Elmont, New York - by Al Bello

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner galloped 2 3/8 miles over Belmont's main track and Sherman, who arrived in New York from California on Monday, liked what he saw.

"I thought he looked better now than he did after the Preakness," Sherman said. "I couldn't believe how much weight he put on. He really looks good right now.

"Going on the Triple Crown trail, it's kind of rough. He's an amazing horse."

In Saturday's 1 1/2-mile Belmont, California Chrome will try to become just the 12th horse, and the first since Affirmed in 1978, to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

The number of potential challengers to the chestnut colt was reduced on Tuesday with the withdrawal of Kid Cruz.

"We have decided to pass on the Belmont," trainer Linda Rice said, adding that the horse "didn't perform" in the Preakness on May 17.

"We'll just look for an easy race for him to get him back on track," she said. "It's a long summer."

Wicked Strong, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, galloped 1 1/2 miles on Belmont's main track on Tuesday.

"I galloped him at 7 o'clock because I thought it was going to get kind of hot and I didn't want to wait until 9:30 or 10 o'clock like we usually do the first day back after working hard," trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. "He's doing great."

The post position draw for the $1.5 million (1.1m euros) Belmont will be on Wednesday.

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