The second leg of the Triple Crown has come and gone. The Preakness Stakes didn’t disappoint thanks to a sizzling performance from California Chrome that puts him in position to win the Triple Crown, a feat last accomplished by Affirmed in 1978.
California Chrome finished with the fastest time at Pimlico since Curlin won in 2007 and silenced the doubters who pointed to his underwhelming time at Churchill Downs as a sign that he wasn’t the real deal.
It was a perfect run by jockey Victor Espinoza on Saturday, as he got out of the gate quickly, stayed close to the lead and then made his move around the final turn to blow the competition out of the water.
Social Inclusion was the horse that set the pace initially, flying out of the gate and sticking to the rail to secure prime positioning. It was the filly, Ria Antonia, that provided the initial challenge to Social Inclusion.
Ria Antonia came around the outside to be right on Social Inclusion’s shoulder, while California Chrome was content to hang back and be third for the first half of the race. As the horses moved into the homestretch, however, California Chrome displayed his trademark burst to move into first place.
Soon, the competition was left in his dust as Chrome turned on the jets and cruised to a relatively comfortable victory.
Only Ride On Curlin could compete with California Chrome’s closing speed as the rest of the pack fell behind the leader by eight lengths. Ride On Curlin closed in at the very end, but the race wasn’t in doubt as the horses came out of the final turn.
Here are the results from Pimlico:
|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
The top five will split the $1.5 million purse, and here are projections for how that prize money will be divided:
|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|
California Chrome has turned out to be quite the investment for owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin—as ESPN’s Darren Rovell points out:
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 potentially on the way as California Chrome will head to the Belmont Stakes with aspirations of the elusive Triple Crown. He’s in such spectacular form that he will undoubtedly be the favorite. The only question is if any of his challengers can muster up the stamina and closing speed to snatch away all hopes of the historic achievement.