The Preakness is over, and the Triple Crown hubbub will only continue to grow as California Chrome delivered on his overwhelming odds as the favorite to win the Preakness Stakes. And unlike the Kentucky Derby, there are no questions about his finishing time at Pimlico.
Jockey Victor Espinoza rode a perfect race, getting out of the gates quickly to find himself not far off the lead for the first half of the race. Social Inclusion was setting the pace early, but California Chrome eventually turned on the gas and made his move coming around the final turn to gain some separation down the home stretch.
Ride On Curlin—another horse that ran at Churchill Downs this year—also displayed his impressive closing speed to finish shortly after California Chrome, but the result was never in doubt on the final straight.
California Chrome and Ride On Curlin destroyed the competition, as you can see from this shot when the Triple Crown hopeful crossed the finish line:
With an unofficial finishing time of 1:54.84, California Chrome had the fastest race at Pimlico since Curlin won in 2007.
Here’s how the race ended in Baltimore:
|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
With the vaunted Triple Crown in his crosshairs, all eyes will be on California Chrome as we shift our focus to the final leg—the Belmont Stakes.
His trainer, Art Sherman, was understandably ecstatic after the race and was hopeful about how California Chrome will fare in the last chapter of the Triple Crown:
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
For the first time in 16 years, the Preakness Stakes purse received a boost of half a million dollars to push to total purse to $1.5 million—which will be split between the top five finishers.
Plenty of people around the world will be making money off the Preakness thanks to heady bets, but here’s how the competitors themselves fared at Pimlico:
|1||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||$800,000|
|2||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||$400,000|
|3||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||$170,000|
|4||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||$80,000|
|5||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||$50,000|
Obviously, California Chrome is the big winner here, but the bigger winners are his owners—Darren Rovell of ESPN shows why:
California Chrome, bred for $10,000, has now earned more than $3 million on the track.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) May 17, 2014
More money is hopefully in the California colt’s future as he attempts to rewrite history and etch his name in horse racing history:
California Chrome won the Preakness. If California Chrome wins the Belmont, it will be the 1st Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 17, 2014
California Chrome was the overwhelming favorite, and he certainly looked the part at Pimlico. It was a tremendous outing for him, and he looks very capable of getting the job done at the Belmont Stakes. With an experienced trainer, an outstanding jockey and phenomenal closing speed, California Chrome stands a very good chance of making history in June.