In the history of the Triple Crown, there have been 11 horses that have won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes in the same year. The last horse to do this was Affirmed back in 1978. Since then, there have been 12 horses to win both the Derby and the Preakness, but all have failed to capture the third leg hosted in Belmont Park, most recently just two years ago with I’ll Have Another.
California Chrome entered the Preakness coming off a rather dominating Kentucky Derby run, which ended with a victory of almost two lengths even though he eased up during the last few yards. A little time before the race, California Chrome was at 3/5 odds to win the Preakness. In other words, he was the overwhelming favorite to take the second leg of the Triple Crown.
California Chrome ran the Preakness almost identically to how he ran the Derby. He started letting another horse set the pace and made the move coming out of the last turn. The most recent odds right before the race had California Chrome at 1/2 odds to win, and win he did. California Chrome won the Preakness by a length and a half with a time of 1:54.84. Which horse was the last to win the Preakness with a 1/2 odds? It was Affirmed on his way to winning the Triple Crown back in 1978.
California Chrome enters the Belmont Stakes as the 13th horse since the Affirmed winner to have hopes to win the Triple Crown. He looks to be the first during this span to actually win the Belmont Stakes and take the Crown. California Chrome will enter the Belmont Stakes as the presumed favorite even though the original odds and lines have not yet been released.
Is California Chrome something special or is he just a pretender? Will we have our first Triple Crown Champion since 1978 this year? We can speculate for now, but we will find out for sure in three weeks.