California Chrome has rolled off several impressive victories in a row, including the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness. If he wins the Belmont today, it's unlikely that it will be racing luck (he'll be near the front), a soft or short field (not today), and certainly not because he is bred for the distance. He can win on heart, which might be enough. I'll give him a coin flip chance, which is high praise against such a test.
When it comes to the betting windows, fuggetaboutit! Take a stand against him or just watch the race. He'll be 2:5ish, and the odds say that's a poor bet (not that you can't win, just that you should not expect to make money in the long run on such propositions).
I still give General A Rod a square chance. He's had much more than his share of bad racing luck, and he can have a say with a clean trip today. Winners in this race often come from just off the pace, which is where he should be. His breeding suggests he can run all day, and when he has been beaten, it has not been because he quit. If California Chrome backs up in the stretch, the General might be right there to reel him in.
A couple others that seem to have a real shot are Commanding Curve, who closed for 2nd in the Derby and skipped the Preakness, and Ride on Curlin, who made a similar close for 2nd in the Preakness.
The real deal is that they all have a chance. My years at the track tell me that anyone can win this race. Recent history had some big long shots winning who perhaps made little sense on paper. The biggest prices come against the heaviest favorites, so don't be shocked at the end if you see a big price in the win column, and perhaps some giant exotic payoffs if California Chrome is out of the money.
If you think you can predict this race with certainty, good luck to you. You can, however, take a reasonable shot in a lot of different directions. Good luck if you bet and enjoy the spectacle either way, especially if we see some history.
The hype is on NBC at 5, and the race goes off about 6:45.