Preakness StakesBaltimore, Md. Pimlico Race Course
BALTIMORE – “New York, here we come!”
The words were spoken by Art Sherman, the 77-year-old trainer of California Chrome, after his big-hearted California-bred easily held off Ride on Curlin by 1 ½ lengths in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday to take an enormous step toward the Triple Crown.
Those words might as well have been shouted from sea to shining sea, for this streaking colt has captured the imagination of both coasts and every state in between in winning six consecutive starts – all stakes races -- by a combined margin of 27 1/2 lengths.
Racing has endured the longest drought since Sir Barton established himself as the first of 11 Triple Crown winners in 1919. No horse has withstood the three-races-in-five-weeks grind since Affirmed outdueled Alydar to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1978. But now this 3-year-old of modest pedigree seemingly has everything necessary to join the legends of the sport.
Sherman admitted he once had his doubts about his 3-year-old’s ability to sustain his speed for one and a half taxing miles in the Belmont Stakes on June 7 at Belmont Park. Not any longer.
“When you have a speed horse that will rate, they are always dangerous,” Sherman said. He learned about greatness at a young age, when he was an 18-year-old exercise rider and accompanied Swaps in a boxcar on a four-day journey from California to Louisville to win the 1955 Kentucky Derby.
Now, in his twilight years, he cannot believe that greatness is before him again as he struggled to control his emotions. “I have to have a tear because we worked hard all year and Victor rode him perfect,” Sherman said. “It’s a dream for any trainer to do this, believe me.”
Much was made of California Chrome’s slow time of 2:03.66 in the Derby. The Preakness proved the adage that time only matters to those serving it. He completed the 1 3/16-mile middle jewel of the Triple Crown in a solid 1:54.84. Much also was made of a post-gallop cough last Thursday morning. His robust health is no longer in doubt.
- Race Number: 12
- Date of Race: May 17, 2014
- Current Purse: $1,500,000
- Location: Baltimore, Md.
- Track: Pimlico Race Course
- Distance: 1 3/16 miles
- Surface: Dirt
- Horse Age: 3-year-olds
|Track ▼||Location ▼||Today's Races ▼|
- Fastest Time (since 1976): 1:53:40 (Tank's Prospect, 1985); All-Time: 1:53 (Secretariat, 1973)
- Greatest Winning Margin (since 1976): 11 1/2 lengths (Smarty Jones, 2004)
- Past Winners: