May 05, 2014 | Roy G Edwards

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images

This may sound a bit odd to you now, but horse racing built this country.

I don’t mean in a sense that it was the countries first love of sport, because it was, but I mean it in a sense that the love and popularity and growth of the sport literally built the country. The railroads expansion were originally for hauling traded goods and services, that was until the demand for horse racing became so great that the US railroads began shipping horses and people as a mass transportation system to areas that didn’t involve factory supply. Some of the nation’s first night lighting were due in part because of horse racing events, some of the very aspects of life that today we look at are because of horse racing. It was the country’s football for decades, until one day it was no longer for the common man to care about.

Horse racing became a money grab. Horse racing and boxing fell to the side as money tore them apart. Horse racing produced car racing, which was cheaper and more for the common man to feel a part of. This added to the big money surrounding horse racing lead to the decline of passion of the everyday man and woman.

So now, in a world where horse owners sometimes pay millions to find the perfect horse, how can the common people take back their first love? Well, his name is California Chrome.

It was Seabiscuit who got the country through the great depression, defeating the War Admiral in Baltimore. It will again be a horse to rally the common people, as all eyes again turn to Pimlico’s Baltimore, home of the Preakness.

The first step to handicapping a horse race is looking at a horse’s sire, the trainer, and the owner. So many times you will see Bob Baffert or Todd Pletcher next to multiple horses and you’ll know they are owned by the best because they are trained by the best. When you look at Clifornia Chrome you don’t see Baffert or Pletcher, instead you see Art Sherman, a lifelong horse trainer who had never had a horse in the derby before; let alone four in one year like Baffert or Pletcher.

You also won’t see a sire like War Admiral next to his name, instead this horse was bread and purchased with the stud fees and bread of a little more than $10,000. To put that into perspective, Wicked Strong the second favorite in the Derby was purchased for $375,000. I once was offered stock in a race horse of 20% in Monkton for $5,000. This horse won the derby at a price nearly 40% of the common horse here in Baltimore.

So could this all be false hope? Could it be a tale of rags to riches for a group a men who simply wanted to chance a dream, never to again be accomplished? Maybe.

Maybe this is that one-in-a-million horse that Disney will write movies about. Maybe it will be that one-in-a-life time horse that we tell stories about because it got our attention once before horse racing again fizzled away. Or maybe, just maybe, this is the horse to bring horse racing back to the common people. The horse that takes racing fans out of the grand stands and back into the infield. The stage is set for history to be made, for America to get its true love back and there can be no greater stage than the one Seabisuit made American’s stand united on nearly 76 years ago.

All eyes on you, California Chrome. All eyes on you, Baltimore.