California Chrome now only 12 furlongs from Triple Crown fame

chromeCalifornia Chrome won the Preakness Stakes on May 17 in a thrilling follow-up to his commanding win in the Kentucky Derby. And as he crossed the finish line he ignited a media frenzy over the prospect of capturing the first Triple Crown victory since 1978. On June 7, he will face his final challenge, the Belmont Stakes in New York.

The Belmont, at a mile-and-a-half, is the longest race in the Triple Crown series. Most 3-year-old racehorses have never run that distance. According to Belmont history, 19 horses who won the first two jewels of the Triple Crown— the Derby and the Preakness—lost their bids for racing glory at Belmont’s “Test of the Champion.”

California Chrome, undefeated in six straight races, has worked his way thousands of miles across country from his home track near Los Angeles. The grueling Triple Crown route encompasses three races in three states on three tracks at three different distances in only five weeks.

Now only one-and-a-half miles, 12 furlongs in racing distance, separate California Chrome from lasting fame. As the Triple Crown speculation intensifies, many remember his great-great-great grandfather, another flashy chestnut Thoroughbred who gave the world the most spectacular Triple Crown of all.

On June 9, 1973, Virginia-born Secretariat stunned the racing world with an unbelievable 31-length victory in the Belmont while also setting a new world record of 2 minutes, 24 seconds. That record still stands, along with Secretariat’s Derby and Preakness records.

“Secretariat’s Belmont, which made him the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, is widely hailed as the most outstanding performance in Thoroughbred racing history,” said Leeanne Meadows Ladin, Secretariat tourism manager at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, Secretariat’s birthplace.

California Chrome’s pedigree also includes 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and 1992 Belmont winner, A. P. Indy.

Of course, none of that guarantees he’ll become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown since it was established in 1919. But he’s come a long way. And he has only 12 more furlongs to go.


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