After they stole the show at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the focus for horse racing fans has shifted to California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza’s chance at Triple Crown glory by winning the 2014 Belmont Stakes.
The horse has looked incredible through the first two legs of the trifecta, and the realistic expectations that California Chrome could win at Belmont Park has the sports world buzzing about a possible Triple Crown winner.
Affirmed was the last horse to accomplish the feat in 1978.
Here is all the vital info on the horse and jockey and a breakdown of how they will handle the 2014 Belmont Stakes.
|California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||Lucky Pulpit - Love The Chase by Not For Love||5-7|
Source: HorseRacingNation.com and OddsChecker.com
Breaking Down California Chrome’s Triple Crown Chances
As the son of an $8,000 mare that was studded for $2,500, California Chrome isn’t supposed to be going for the Triple Crown. Looking at the horse’s pedigree, though, the expectations for a relative of Seattle Slew should have been much higher.
Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown in 1977.
SportsCenter talked about how rare winning the first two legs is and how difficult it is to win the elusive third race:
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
California Chrome and jockey Espinoza have now won six races in a row and will look to add another to pull off one of the most impressive runs in horse racing history. Not only did this horse win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but he also managed to be victorious at the Santa Anita Derby, San Felipe Stakes, California Cup Derby and King Glorious Stakes.
Art Sherman told Mike Singer of CBSSports.com after winning the Preakness about his love for California Chrome and his thoughts about the Belmont:
Wow. It's quite a thrill. I knew he had to run hard this race, just watching him perform, just coming back in two weeks, I was a little concerned. but I'll tell you one thing, he's a real race horse. I'm hoping that the mile-and-half is up his alley, too, because he's a very good horse.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb talked about his excitement concerning the possibility that he could witness history at the Belmont Stakes:
California Chrome!! It's only right I find a way to Belmont to witness all 3 Legs of the Triple Crown!!— Randall Cobb (@rcobb18) May 18, 2014
Yahoo Sports columnist Brad Evans is not as confident in Chrome’s chances:
Thank you California Chrome for giving me an excuse to bet the farm against you in the Belmont Stakes, and for caring about horse racing.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) May 17, 2014
While Sherman deserves immense credit for the success of this horse thus far, just as much talk should be on Espinoza. After building a great relationship with the horse, the jockey has ridden the talented colt to perfection.
Will California Chrome win the Triple Crown?
Just as the horse and jockey combination did in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, they will run behind the leaders coming into the final turns and switch on the afterburners as they approach the homestretch.
With elite speed and strength—and the ability to separate from the pack late in the race—there is no reason to believe California Chrome won’t be victorious at the Belmont Stakes and become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.
Predicted Finish: 2014 Belmont Stakes Winner
*Stats via HorseRacingNation.com.