It was no accident that when Steven Coburn and Perry Martin bought California Chrome. These guys believed that good things were coming for their horse.
It was a tough start off the third gate for the Art Sherman trained horse, but when jockey Victor Espinoza saw an opening about halfway through, he got California Chrome through that hole on the way to winning the 139th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Track.
Let the speculation begin as California Chrome will head to the Belmont with what may be a very good chance to win the Triple Crown for the 12th time in the history of these events.
California Chrome is the 13th horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown series since Affirmed won the last Triple Crown in 1978.
“It’s quite a thrill. I know he had to run harder this race. Just watching him perform, I was a little concerned coming back in two weeks,” said Sherman after the win. “I’ll tell you one thing: he’s a real race horse. I hope the mile and a half is up his alley too, because he’s a very good horse.”
California Chrome resisted a challenge down the stretch from Ride on Curlin to win the race by a length and a half.
Espinoza did his thing, saying, “I saw a horse got to the front and I said ‘I’ll sit behind him.’ Then I saw another one come, and I had to use my brakes. As soon as the other horse got clear of me, it worked out perfect.”
In front of 123,469 in attendance this Preakness evening, California Chrome showed off big time. Sherman said about the performance, “I have to have a tear (in my eye) because we worked all year and Victor rode him perfect. It’s a dream for any trainer to do this, believe me.”