The 146th running of the Belmont Stakes, the final jewel in Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, will take place Saturday at Belmont Park in the state of New York.
Here, California Chrome will attempt to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed in 1978. He showed us he had the speed in the Derby and Preakness, now we’ll find out if he has the stamina to go the mile-and-a-half distance at Belmont. This will be Art Sherman’s first Belmont starter, while jockey Espinoza (0-for-3 in the race) failed in his 2002 Triple Crown bid with War Emblem.
My regular horse industry news feeds have been blasting California Chrome insights all week and I thought I’d share a few of what I found the most interesting in prelude to tomorrow’s race.
1. Randall Lane at Forbes Magazine writes, “Those planning to actually make money on Chrome by spitting into the face of the underlay are making one of the dumbest bets possible in a horse race,” pointing out the current 3-5 odds on Chrome (meaning you’ll win $3 on your $5 bet), roughly translates to a horse with a 66% chance of winning – odds, which Lane believes are overrated for the horse. A much sounder gamble might be to hold on to your betting stub. The uncashed $2 tickets from Affirmed’s 1978 Belmont win are currently selling on eBay for around $150 — a very solid 12.74% annual return.
2. The Kentucky Derby Facebook Page has been posting vintage photos and great bits of trivia on the 11 previous Triple Crown winners all week. Did you know, for instance, that the 1946 winner, Assault, stepped on something sharp when he was young, leaving him with a permanent limp at a walk or trot. But at a full gallop, Assault was flawless.
3. Also on the Kentucky Derby Facebook Page, you can participate in a history-making share as they encourage you to share this image if you are rooting for California Chrome to win the Triple Crown, and at the same time help the Page break it’s record of 10,936 shares for one post. It’s currently sitting at just under 60,000 shares, so it’s safe to say that record has been shattered.
4. Catch up on Chrome’s past race results at Horse Racing Nation.
5. Check out his in-depth pedigree at this link. There you’ll find that while his sire’s bloodlines trace back to Secretariat, the bottom side displays a Canadian connection with Northern Dancer displaying a few generations back.
6. You’ll find one of the most comprehensive guides to the rest of the Belmont Stakes Contenders at Blood-Horse.
7. Also at Blood-Horse take a walk down Triple Crown Racing’s impressive history of icons with their Past Triple Crown Winners, including such icons as Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Citation and all of the 11 past winners.
8. A fun read is 10 Things You Might Not Know About California Chrome, including that Chrome was almost called “Seabisquik.” The story goes that when naming their now-famous horse, each of the four co-owners put their favorite name in Steve Coburn’s cowboy hat and had a waitress pick the winner. The options were Lucky at Love (Carolyn Coburn’s name), Big Chapter (Denise Martin’s name), California Chrome (Steve Coburn’s name) and Seabisquik (Perry Martin’s name). The waitress picked California Chrome. Whew.
9. Finally, reader Melanie Crouch wrote in to let us know her friend Templeton Thompson has released a song: Bring It On Home California Chrome. Proceeds from every $1.00 download goes to Old Friends, a retired racehorse charity.
There you have it. Enjoy the race tomorrow!