NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — California Chrome is in New York.
The Triple Crown hopeful arrived at Belmont Park on Tuesday morning shortly before 11 a.m. amid a huge media throng.
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Now, it’s about horse racing and the chance to make history. And the center of attention showed up Tuesday, 18 days before his date with destiny, CBS 2’s Otis Livingston reported.
“I think the industry can use a Triple Crown right now, especially with the story like this horse has,” said California Chrome’s assistant trainer, Alan Sherman. “He didn’t cost a ton of money to buy or breed him. It’s hard to describe. It’s just been so much fun. This horse has taken us on the ride of our lives.”
After winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in spectacular fashion, California Chrome will become the 12th horse to try its luck at the Triple Crown since Affirmed won all three races back in 1978. The last three to have a shot — Smarty Jones, Big Brown and I’ll Have Another — finished second, didn’t finish and never made the starting gate, respectively. I’ll Have Another was scratched on the eve of the Belmont back in 2012.
California Chrome has captured the attention of the country. Bred for just $10,500, the colt has made his owners $3.5 million in winnings. He traveled four hours from Maryland on Tuesday, and will spend the days leading up to the June 7 race in or around Barn 26, Livingston reported.
“It means the world to us. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Sherman said.
But for a while on Monday it looked like technicalities would prevent California Chrome from racing at Belmont. His owners were adamant that he be allowed to wear equine nasal strips, mostly because they help horses breathe better and those in the horse racing industry tend to be a superstitious lot. With Chrome having won his last six races, all while wearing the strips, those in his camp weren’t about to let what they viewed as antiquated New York Racing Authority rules get in their way.
Luckily for all involved, NYRA felt the same and a three-person panel unanimously agreed Monday to allow the use of equine nasal strips for California Chrome — or any other horse — at Belmont Park.
“It wasn’t really a big issue once my dad talked to them about using a nasal strip, it’s not a state law, it’s more of a house law,” Sherman said. “They didn’t just open it up for us, they opened it up for everybody, so everything’s worked out perfect.”
California Chrome is favored 5-7 to win the Triple Crown, according to Bovada.
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