Few Triple Crown failures had a more memorable year than California Chrome did in 2014.
He entered as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, living up to expectations in the first two. He fell short in the third, but his season is still worth reliving.
Here are the video replays and analyses of all three races in California Chrome's pursuit of the Triple Crown.
2014 Kentucky Derby
At Churchill Downs, California Chrome exploded out of the starting gates. (This would become a trend).
Instead of clinging to an early lead, he held comfortably to third for the majority of the race. With approximately 1/4 mile to go, jockey Victor Espinoza's patience paid off: California Chrome kicked it outside and took the lead.
That lead quickly began to grow. With 300 yards to go, viewers got their first glimpse of California Chrome's impressive top-end speed as he distanced himself from the field.
2014 Preakness Stakes
At Pimlico, California Chrome again used a phenomenal start to position himself safely and conservatively in third. Espinoza had the space to kick California Chrome into high gear, but he was content to wait for the right moment.
When it came about halfway through the race, the field had no hope.
California Chrome bounced outside quickly and stole the lead. Espinoza couldn't have played it more perfectly. They had the lead for the last 1/4 mile—only one horse even pushed him to sprint through the finish line.
At Belmont, California Chrome again avoided becoming victim of a poor start, finding himself in another comfortable position against the rail.
But then Commissioner—who had stolen an early lead—also moved to the rail. With General A Rod to Commissioner's right, Commissioner in front and the rail to his left, California Chrome was stuck. He couldn't sneak between the leaders.
He was left with no choice but to go around.
On the last turn, Espinoza had to take California Chrome wider than he had the previous two races. The extra effort on the last 1/4 mile drained California Chrome's energy.
The final burst he showed in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness just wasn't there.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.