On Saturday afternoon, California Chrome won the 140th Kentucky Derby, in turn becoming the first California bred horse to win the prestigious race since Decidedly in 1962. Naturally, people were quick to move on from the historic victory and ask one question: can California Chrome win the Triple Crown?
In short, the answer is yes.
Now, winning the Preakness and Belmont Stakes over the next month certainly won’t be an easy task, but California Chrome is the hottest horse in the world right now. The colt has now won five consecutive races with Victor Espinoza as its jockey, and the horse and trainer have looked to click in a way that can’t truly be explained by words. Over this five race stretch, California Chrome has beaten the field by an average of 5.4 lengths, beating nearly all of the competition that it will face over the next two races along the way.
This prolonged length of domination was a big reason why California Chrome was the favorite at 5/2 odds before the Kentucky Derby even began. Saturday’s race showed why these odds were in place, as California Chrome displayed great speed out of the gates, stamina to back it up and the short burst of speed to break away on straightaways. This essentially means that it is as complete as any horse can hope to be, and sets it up well for both the shorter Preakness track and long haul at Belmont.
Sure, some people will call California Chrome a fluke, pointing to its original $8,000 price tag, low profile trainer and non-traditional roots, but results show that this horse knows how to run. Look for it to ride a wave of momentum and pure athletic ability to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed did so in 1978.