He didn't lead the entire race, but California Chrome finished as the 2014 Preakness Stakes winner.
The Kentucky Derby champion entered the race as a 3-5 favorite. He failed to disappoint—everyone but his critics, that is.
Prior to the Derby, competitors counted out Chrome for his unimpressive pedigree and the inexperience of his trainer Art Sherman, according to Childs Walker of The Baltimore Sun. Chrome won by nearly two lengths.
Even after his impressive victory, not all were sold on his ability to win back-to-back Triple Crown races.
Skeptics pointed to his top Beyer Speed Figure of 108. Top contender Social Inclusion, which entered the race as a 5-1 underdog, had been recorded at 110 according to Tom Pedulla of The New York Times.
The time in which Chrome finished the Derby also became a point of emphasis. It was the slowest winning time on a Derby fast track in the last 40 years.
If not being the fastest horse wasn't enough to dissuade bettors from putting money on Chrome, he got stuck with a challenging post position—not an ideal formula for a quick start. The Preakness hadn't been won by a horse starting from the three inside posts in nearly 20 years. And Chrome had to race from post No. 3.
On Saturday evening at Pimlico, though, he dispelled each of these concerns.
Will California Chrome win the Triple Crown?
Chrome exploded out of the starting gates. He used a phenomenal start to secure third place behind Pablo Del Monte and Ria Antonia for the first half of the race before making his move. When Chrome did, he showed no lack of speed, holding off Social Inclusion and Ride On Curlin.
They were on his hooves for a moment. Then Chrome distanced himself by a length-and-a-half.
The historic feat that everyone has their eyes on is the illusive Triple Crown, which hasn't been won since 1978. But Chrome racked up his fair share of accomplishments in Baltimore, including this one according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Chrome also became only the third horse to win the Derby and Preakness in the past decade and the 13th since 1978.
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
Given how he proved not to have many of the weaknesses that were suggested, Chrome should have fewer skeptics entering the Belmont Stakes.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.