With the 2014 Kentucky Derby behind us, we now move on to the next leg of the Triple Crown—the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore on May 17.
As contenders begin to confirm their impending participation at Pimlico, one question remains on everyone's mind: Does any horse have what it takes to beat California Chrome?
California Chrome EVEN MONEY to win Preakness. Entire rest of field -120 (via @WilliamHillUS)— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) May 4, 2014
After all, the pairing of veteran jockey Victor Espinoza and California Chrome put together a sparkling performance at Churchill Downs.
A solid chemistry between the two was well on display during the Run for the Roses.
After a nice break, Espinoza wisely tightened the reins, keeping California Chrome from heading into traffic at the front of the pack. The duo coasted through the majority of the race, shadowing leaders Uncle Sigh and Chitu.
At the top of the stretch, California Chrome made his move. Espinoza rode him outside of Chitu, bursting to the front of the pack and quickly gaining a lead of five lengths over the field.
California Chrome's lead was insurmountable, eventually winning over Commanding Curve by 1 3/4 lengths.
The race was simply impeccable and deserves another look:
Here's where things get interesting for the Preakness.
The final field has yet to be set; however, many of the Derby's top horses have not yet announced their participation for the upcoming race.
Commanding Curve, Danza, Wicked Strong, Samraat and Dance With Fate finished behind California Chrome, respectively. None of these horses are currently listed as contenders in the Preakness.
The closest Derby finisher to California Chrome already announced to participate in the Preakness is seventh-place finisher Ride On Curlin.
This bodes well for another victory for California Chrome, as he defeated Ride On Curlin by 6 3/4 lengths at Churchill Downs.
None of the other announced contenders for the Preakness have been near as dominant as California Chrome—he's won each of his past five races in convincing fashion.
Certainly, things will continue to change as more contenders for the Preakness Stakes are announced. However, based on the current field, it's easy to speculate California Chrome could be headed toward his sixth-straight win and pull even closer to obtaining the elusive Triple Crown.
After all, Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form tweeted an inside scoop on Derby horses considering running in the Preakness:
As of today, here's who we've got either in, or considering Preakness: California Chrome, Commanding Curve, Danza, Ride On Curlin (1/2)— Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) May 5, 2014
Commanding Curve and Danza would absolutely bring about plenty of competition for California Chrome. However, we'll have to wait and see which of these horses officially commit to the race.
As of now, things are looking very favorable for California Chrome to continue his dominance.
Preakness Stakes contenders updated as of 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 6.