SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A horse so popular that has made his way into mainstream America, will try to end horse racing’s 36-year Triple Crown drought at Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. California Chrome competes on Saturday and with victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness behind him, many have him as the favorite to win.
However, Bloodhorse.com Senior Editor Steve Haskin said Chrome’s competition looks pretty stiff.
“We’ve got several horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby, but skipped the Preakness stakes, so they’re fresh and they’re ready to go,” Haskin said. “He’s going to have to run his A-race.”
Haskin said he also likes a horse called Tonalist’s chances and notes the Belmont Stakes will be the longest Chrome has ever had to run in a race.
“I’ve seen a lot of horses trying for the Triple Crown and they just can’t handle that mile and a half. It’s going to be the only time these horses run a mile and a half their whole life.”
When people talk about Chrome they always seem to mention how he’s got an extra gear. Many horses have kicked it into high gear early on in the race, but have paid the price.
“It depends on how much stamina you have and how much class you have over the rest of the horses. Nothing bothers [Chrome] at all. He’s amazing,” Haskin said.
Not even the photographers seem to bother Chrome. Haskins said he’s accustomed to humans and had early exposure because of how he was separated from his mother at birth due to medical reasons.
Haskins thinks a California Chrome Triple-Crown win would be a major boost for the sport which has waned in popularity.
“The key is the historical part of it. Because there’s so much history, people want to be a part of history. There’s a whole generation of racing fans now that have never seen a Triple-Crown winner.”