California Chrome pleased bettors on Saturday, winning the 2014 Preakness Stakes and keeping his Triple Crown hopes alive in the process.
After a decisive victory at the Kentucky Derby, Chrome followed with an equally impressive win at Pimlico. Even though Chrome didn't display his dominance on Saturday, he still showed his ability to maintain a top speed for a lengthy portion of a race.
Ride On Curlin and Social Inclusion finished in second and third, respectively. The payout for the three top finishers is as follows:
|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.
The remainder of the field was far behind. Even Social Inclusion was pretty far back, finishing a full eight lengths behind Chrome. Here is the full table of results from the event:
|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|
Now the race for the Triple Crown is on.
The last horse to win it was Affirmed in 1978, though there have been many horses since that have come within one win. In fact, Chrome is the 13th to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, via SportsCenter's official Twitter account:
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
For Chrome to win, jockey Victor Espinoza will need to use the same strategy as in the past six races atop the colt—when the three-year-old starts just behind the leaders and turns on the jets later in the race, he wins.
It's a simple formula not always easily executed, but Espinoza has been brilliant in making it happen.
At Pimlico, Chrome started behind leaders Pablo Del Monte and Ria Antonia before creating enough space to get to the outside. Coming around the final turn, Chrome tapped into that reserve and pushed it to another gear.
He was able to maintain this speed for the remainder of the race, even adding an extra boost during the last furlong to hold off Ride On Curlin.
But while Belmont is a longer race than the Preakness, trainer Art Sherman is confident the strategy will still work (via Daily Racing Form's 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 a confident trainer and talented jockey, it looks as if Chrome could very well be in line for the Triple Crown.