If California Chrome is going to continue his quest for the Triple Crown at Saturday's Preakness Stakes, he is going to have to alter recent history.
During Wednesday's post position draw, which has a tendency of making or breaking a horse's chances, the Kentucky Derby winner was slotted in the No. 3 stall of the 10-horse field. Here's a look, courtesy of HRTV, where every horse will line up for the 139th running of the second jewel of the Triple Crown:
As SportingCharts pointed out, it has been nearly two decades since a horse has won at Pimlico from California Chrome's position:
That's hardly a worry for Art Sherman's horse, though. California Chrome is still clearly the cream of the crop in this field, and even after being put on the inside of speedsters like Pablo Del Monte and Social Inclusion, the three-year-old colt remains a heavy favorite in the official morning-line odds, via BloodHorse.com's Claire Novak:
Unsurprisingly, his odds to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 aren't much lower, checking in at a solid 9-4, according to OddsChecker.com.
While the No. 3 post has been unlucky as of late, you can find lots of success from that same spot if you go back a bit further in history. A total of 11 horses have won from that particular post, including a certain dominant thoroughbred you might have heard of—Secretariat.
California Chrome's team certainly wasn't disappointed in the draw, as Maryland Jockey Club's Mike Gathagan noted:
Moreover, Sherman, via Daily Racing Form's Jay Privman, has liked how his horse has looked in training this week:
He looked around a little bit. He’s inquisitive. He was pulling more the second time around, which is his style. It’s the way he gallops every day.
I thought it was a good gallop.
At Churchill, the red-hot horse started at post No. 5, fired to the front of the pack and stayed ahead for most of the slow-paced race before barreling to a massive margin after the final turn. Still, the slow finishing time didn't convince everyone of his greatness.
Coming from the inside in what figures to be a much faster race at Pimlico, though, California Chrome has an opportunity to showcase his versatility, immense talent and rare speed.
If he does that, don't expect anyone to doubt his ability to make history at Belmont.