With a late burst mirroring the one at the Kentucky Derby, jockey Victor Espinoza was able to guide California Chrome to victory at the 2014 Preakness Stakes with a lightning-fast time of 1:54.84.
Chrome is now that much closer to making history and becoming the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown. June 7's Belmont Stakes will determine whether or not history is made, but for now, let's focus on the thrilling Preakness.
Chrome was the clear winner in front of Ride On Curlin, though the son of 2007 Preakness winner Curlin was hot on Chrome's tail for much of the last furlong. Social Inclusion was with the leaders on the final turn, but the sprints of Chrome and Ride On Curlin were ultimately too fast to keep up with.
Below is a full table of the results:
|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|
Naturally, only the top horses earned payouts:
|10||Ride On Curlin||-||$5.60||$3.80|
*$2 Exacta (3-10) paid $18.20; $1 Trifecta (3-8-2) paid $38.00; $1 Superfecta (3-10-8-2) paid $173.80.
With wins at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, Chrome is now in position to take home the Triple Crown. Josh Elliott of NBC Sports tweeted right after the race that the horse is now in exclusive company:
California Chrome wins the 139th Preakness Stakes, is now the 13th horse to have a Triple Crown shot since Affirmed's TC win in 1978.— Josh Elliott (@JoshElliott32) May 17, 2014
Espinoza led Chrome brilliantly in the race. He got out of the gates quickly from the No. 3 position but then stuck to the same strategy he did in the Preakness. By sitting behind the leaders and allowing Chrome to stretch his legs, Espinoza was able to judge just how much speed the horse would need to overtake Pablo Del Monte—the horse that led for much of the race.
The final stretch saw Chrome run a blistering pace, and that's something that the colt has proved he can do in these past two races. Trainer Art Sherman is hoping Chrome can do the same in the Belmont Stakes, via Daily Racing Form's official Twitter account:
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
With the brilliant win on Saturday, Chrome is now ready to make history. Will he and Espinoza be able to implement the same strategy at the Belmont Stakes and become immortalized in horse racing history?
We'll have to wait until June 7 to find out.