California Chrome Aims for Triple Crown Title

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Since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978, becoming the eleventh Thoroughbred in history to achieve this honor, twelve competitors have come close to adding their names to the list by winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but failed to win the third and final race of the series, the Belmont Stakes. With the prestigious event just five days away, Horseracing enthusiasts don’t have long to wait to see Kentucky and Preakness winner, California Chrome, thundering down the track in an effort to claim the twelfth Triple Crown victory.

While the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes individually have long histories, it was only in 1923 that they started to be referred to collectively as the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. The fact that the trio of races only became known as the Triple Crown in 1923, has led some to dispute the validity of the achievement of the 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton, but it is generally accepted that the chestnut Thoroughbred colt was the first winner of the title.

The unique Triple Crown Trophy, awarded to Triple Crown champions, was commissioned by the Thoroughbred Racing Association and created by Cartier Jewelry Company in 1950, whereupon it was presented to the 1948 Triple Crown winner, Citation. From 1951 onward, trophies were presented retroactively to all the previous winners of the championship, or their heirs, from the most recent right back to Sir Barton.

Historic winners of the iconic Triple Crown are:

1919 – Sir Barton

1930 – Gallant Fox

1935 – Omaha

1937 – War Admiral

1941 – Whirlaway

1943 – Count Fleet

1946 – Assault

1948 – Citation

1973 – Secretariat

1977 – Seattle Slew

1978 – Affirmed

1973 winner Secretariat set time records for all three of the Triple Crown Races – the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes at 1:59.24, 1:53 and 2:24 respectively.

Often referred to as the ‘Sport of Kings’, horseracing is a highly competitive industry, with wealthy owners having the option of picking and choosing horses they think have championship qualities, and then paying top trainers to build on those qualities to create a winner. California Chrome has gained a huge following of fans precisely because he doesn’t fit the typical profile. California Chrome was sired by Lucky Pulpit, at a stud fee of $1,500, and born to Love the Chase on February 18, 2011. Co-owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn took the (clearly wise) decision to send the colt to father and son trainers Art and Alan Sherman, Reportedly because of their reputation for developing young horses with patience. And the rest, as they say, is history — in the making.

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