History hangs in the balance as the 2014 Preakness Stakes results found California Chrome in the winner's circle.
He and his trainer Victor Espinoza entered the race as a 3-5 favorite after winning the Kentucky Derby earlier this May. He lived up to those expectations. Now he has a chance to win the first Triple Crown since 1978.
Will California Chrome win the Triple Crown?
Pablo Del Monte's and Ria Antonia's fast start forced California Chrome to settle for third for the first half of the race. Top contender Social Inclusion followed close behind in fourth.
But it was Ride On Curlin who, along with California Chrome, made the strongest move down the final stretch. Jockey Joel Rosario pushed the 10-1 underdog enough to give the favorite a scare, but California Chrome showed exactly why oddsmakers gave him a better chance to win than to lose on Saturday.
Top contender Social Inclusion looked rattled prior to the race, dancing in circles and fighting with his handler in the starting gate.
Here is the complete finishing order, replay and payout for the 139th running of the Preakness:
|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|
via NBC Broadcast
|Ride On Curlin||—||$5.60||$3.80|
via NBC Broadcast
Speaking off paydays, Darren Rovell of ESPN reported that California Chrome is making his owners far more money than they spent on breeding him:
California Chrome, bred for $10,000, has now earned more than $3 million on the track.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) May 17, 2014
That number will skyrocket even more if he wins the Triple Crown.
According to SportsCenter, 12 other horses have been in California Chrome's position in the past 35 years but failed to cash in.
Lucky number 13? California Chrome is 13th horse to win both Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes since last Triple Crown in 1978.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 17, 2014
The fact that a dozen favorites were defeated won't convince history buffs to bet on California Chrome. But winning the Belmont won't be the first time he ended a decade-long drought, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
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 lived up to expectations in the Preakness, and they'll be just as high for the third leg of the elusive Triple Crown.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.