NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — California Chrome’s name will be immortalized alongside Affirmed, Secretariat, War Admiral and the eight other Triple Crown winners if the colt manages to pull out a win in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.
Or California Chrome will take its place on a different kind of list with Big Brown, Smarty Jones and Funny Cide, all horses who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes only to fall short in the final — and longest — leg of the Triple Crown.
But what many don’t know is that California Chrome was this close to being dubbed “Seabisquik,” a nod to famed racehorse Seabiscuit. Imagine that dominating the headlines.
Steve Coburn, the horse’s part-owner, said it just came down to a lucky pluck over lunch last year. Coburn told FOXSports.com that “California Chrome,” “Seabisquik,” “Lucky at Love” and “Big Chapter” were all written down and the scraps placed inside his cowboy hat. Then, with their choices all in, the table of four — Coburn, part-owner Perry Martin and their wives — called over Sacramento-area waitress Alison Simonich.
“She actually had to stand on a chair to reach, because I was holding my hat so high,” Coburn said. “So she stood on a chair, reached in, and picked out the pieces of paper one at a time.”
California Chrome — Coburn’s choice — was picked first and eventually approved by the Jockey Club.
Simonich said she forgot all about it until after the Kentucky Derby.
“I feel honored because I was a part of it,” she told FOXSports.com. “We take things for granted, and everyone is so fast-paced, and it’s kind of taught me to slow down and remember things, because (naming a Triple Crown hopeful) was awesome, and it’s not something you get to do every day.”
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