Sunday, June 1, 2014

Our Chromie's Wing and a Prayer to win the Belmont Stakes

Our California Chrome, our Cinderfella who rose up from the ashes of humble origin, has new shoes, and he just might win the last waltz of horseracing—the Triple CrownIf so, he'll be the first winner in 36 years. And the only California horse to win. Ever. The odds against California Chrome winning Triple Crown's "test of champions" are a staggering million-to-1 longshot. But we're good with California Dreamin' and longshots.

Only 11 horses have ever won the Triple Crown, including War Admiral, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed. 

Only thing is, most of the horses Chromie's up against at the Belmont Stakes were not all in the Derby or Belmont, so they're be much fresher. 

Does Chrome (aka Junior) carry Secretariat's large heart gene—the "x" factor? If so, his heart will carry him to the finish line. But then, Chromie has good bloodlines on both sides of the family, including Secretariat and Seattle Slew. 

When Secretariat, aka Big Red, broke the Triple Crown time records there were only 5 other horses racing against him. Not a packed field like the Belmont Park race will be.  

The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs was a full 10-horse field, and California Chrome won with ease. He could have won by 10 lengths but his jockey held him back to save his energy for the Preakness and the Belmont. No riding crop was needed or applied, other than its being raised in a victory salute.

The Preakness at the Pimlico Race Course was also a packed 10-horse field, but only three of those horses also ran in the Derby. The Preakness was sandy and long: 1.5 miles, but Chromie had Seattle Slew in his genetic pocket. His lineage includes long distance horses and a sprinter (Lucky Pulpit, his dad, was a sprinter—which is why everyone thought Chrome would lose the Preakness). Chrome won with ease.

Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by a whopping thirty-one lengths, in record time of 2:24, becoming a U.S. Triple Crown champion. His record still stands as the fastest speed for the Belmont Stakes.

So far, there are 12 horses entered in the Belmont Stakes, aka "Run for the Carnations." The 1.5 mile track is the world’s largest dirt track—making it the most gruelling of the Triple Crown races.

California-bred Belmont winners are so rare, it's only happened twice: Comanche in 1893 and Africander in 1903. It's a course that favors native horses; 15 New York horses have won in the past 25 years.
Fewer than 1 percent of all horses who have raced in North America since 1973 – the year Secretariat swept the Triple Crown – won three or more stakes in their entire careers.  —Historically, odds are against California Chrome winning Triple Crown

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Horses can be entered up to 72 hours before the race. California Chrome’s main contenders include: Wicked Strong (Derby), Tonalist (new), Commanding Curve (Derby), and Ride on Curlin (Preakness). 

Chrome doesn't like dirt in his face, so he'll want to be out front, and there are a lot more rail curves at the Belmont track (51%), so it'll be tricky to conserve his stamina. Many horses burn out too early.

"According to a chart on, 51 percent (4,040 feet) of the Belmont Stakes is run on the turns, compared with 39 percent (2,554.5 feet) for the Derby and 42 percent (2,654) for the Preakness." Chromie seems to favor the long inside turn.

Let's hope for no rain on June 7. A muddy track changes the odds as Chrome's never run on a wet track. 

Did you know that the American horse races are run widdershins, or in the counter-clockwise direction? English racing is run in the clockwise tradition. 

It all comes to a head on June 7. Nasalgate aside, I haven't been this excited about a horse race since Secretariat's record-breaking triple win back in 1973!

California Chrome, a Cinderfella Horse

Preakness 2014 Horse Race VIDEO - California Chrome

Kentucky Derby 2014 Horse Race VIDEO

California Chrome wants Triple Crown

Historically, odds are against California Chrome winning Triple Crown

Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing The 11 Triple Crown winners are Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral(1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978).

Belmont Stakes

Triple Crown

Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral - 1938 Match Race (Pimlico Special) In the famous match race against War Admiral, Seabiscuit wore the same saddle Pharlap wore in his last victory race. "The burst of speed the Biscuit shows the last 200 yards is phenomenal. Woolf (riding Biscuit) was instructed to allow War Admiral to come alongside Biscuit in the middle of the race. Biscuit got bored with races because he was so fast and sometimes would let a race slip away toward the end. By allowing Biscuit to see WA, it inspired him. WA made a strong move to pass, you can see the acceleration he had as he caught up with him, and for a brief moment, because he was moving so fast, WA actually did have a short lead. But Seabiscuit would have none of it, he kicked it into another gear. WA realized he could not win. That was the race right there, it had been settled before they hit the stretch. It was a war between 2 of the greatest horses racing has ever seen." War Admiral never stood a chance.

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