Longer track, shorter track, molasses pace, lightning pace—it doesn't matter. California Chrome is going to respond the same way.
With a win.
The three-year-old colt took another step toward elusive Triple Crown immortality on Saturday, racing ahead of the 10-horse field at Pimlico to a highly impressive victory at the Preakness Stakes.
Bleacher Report gave a look at the chestnut star's sixth consecutive winning moment:
Here's a another shot to catch the race in its entirety:
Ride On Curlin and Social Inclusion crossed the finish line behind trainer Art Sherman's horse to finish in the money at the historic Second Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Here's a look at the complete order of finish and betting payouts:
Order of Finish
|1||3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||-|
|2||10||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||William Gowan||1 1/2|
|3||8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||Manny Azpurua||8|
|4||2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||Mike Maker||8|
|5||4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||H. Graham Motion||12 1/4|
|6||9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley A. Ward||14|
|7||1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||Mark E. Casse||15 3/4|
|8||7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||Linda Rice||15 3/4|
|9||5||Bayern||Rosie Napravnik||Bob Baffert||20 3/4|
|10||6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||Tom Amoss||30 3/4|
|Ride on Curlin||—||$5.60||$3.80|
It couldn't have been a better trip for jockey Victor Espinoza and California Chrome, who came out of the No. 3 post and joined rare company with the win, per ESPN Stats & Info:
California Chrome is the 13th horse to win first 2 legs of Triple Crown since 1978, when Affirmed was last Triple Crown winner.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 17, 2014
ESPN Stats & Info and ESPN's Darren Rovell also noted a few more unlikely facts stemming from the victory:
California Chrome is the 1st horse to win the Preakness from the No. 3 post position since Prairie Bayou in 1993.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 17, 2014
California Chrome, bred for $10,000, has now earned more than $3 million on the track.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) May 17, 2014
Unsurprisingly, speedy horse Pablo Del Monte jumped out in front of the pack out of the gates. But instead of having to challenge Wesley A. Ward's horse, California Chrome stayed in third place—the perfect position—for much of the race while Ria Antonia helped eventually slow down the lead horse.
Espinoza made his final move near the last turn, with Social Inclusion right nearby. The talented horse pulled away down the stretch, though, and while Ride On Curlin made things slightly interesting in the final seconds, he wasn't able to stop California Chrome's bid at history.
The ability to make an early push and hold on was quite extraordinary, as Daily Racing Form's Jay Privman noted:
A few thoughts on Preakness: California Chrome must best. Had to move with Social Inclusion at 1/2, finished 8 in front of him. #Preakness— Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) May 17, 2014
Jose Contreras of AmericasBestRacing.net added to that praise:
California Chrome has EARNED all his "good/perfect" trips because of his versatility & cruising speed. Expect him to head to NY w TC dreams.— Jose A Contreras (@LosPonies) May 15, 2014
While he made it look easy, though, Espinoza, via WDRB's Eric Crawford, called his historic trip a "challenge":
California Chrome jockey Victor Espinoza on winning the #Preakness, “This race, it was more complicated. … It was a challenge for me."— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) May 17, 2014
At Churchill Downs, the historically slow pace didn't bother this horse. At Pimlico, the speed out in front couldn't stop him from continuing this magical story. At the 1.5-mile Belmont Stakes, California Chrome will get yet another chance to show off that impressive versatility and end the nearly four-decade wait for another Triple Crown champion.
Sherman, via Daily Racing Form, talked about the upcoming race:
Moments after race, Art Sherman tells NBC: "He's a real racehorse, and I'm hoping that the mile and a half is up his alley, too." #Preakness— DRF Derby (@DRFDerby) May 17, 2014
The final and longest leg of the Triple Crown, aptly dubbed "The Test of the Champion," will be sure to challenge California Chrome unlike ever before, but this horse has made it very clear over the last month: He can handle anything.
At Belmont Park in three weeks, we'll see if that's true.