California Chrome fails to take the Triple Crown

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

California Chrome
California Chrome at the Kentucky Derby.

In all the history of horse racing, only 11 horses have claimed the Triple Crown by winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. This weekend, the beautiful 3-year-old chestnut colt California Chrome came close to becoming the 12th horse to do so, after winning the Derby on May 3 and the Preakness on May 17. Although he lost to 1st place Tonalist in the Belmont Stakes and only came in 4th place, Chrome has already entered the record books as the 34th horse to win the other two races.

What’s amazing is that California Chrome isn’t the usual ultra-expensive breed of horse that competes in these races, having cost his owners only $10,000 to purchase. After his wins in the Derby and Preakness, estimates of his value shot to over $12 million, and his owners have already pocketed several hundred thousand dollars in prize money! Talk about a great investment.

Unfortunately, his value has gone down after not winning the Triple Crown, but he’s still worth a pretty penny. Steve Coburn, one of Chrome’s co-owners, wasn’t a very graceful loser after his horse didn’t earn the Triple Crown. Because fresh horses can enter the Belmont Stakes that haven’t won the others, Coburn felt cheated, and said the other competitors “took the coward’s way out”. However, if he had his way, there would have been only 3 horses in the race rather than 11, and it’s unlikely that 102,199 people would’ve shown up like they did in the third-largest crowd ever at Belmont. There definitely wouldn’t have been $19,105,877 gambled on the race!

Just to give you an idea of how hard it is to win the Triple Crown, of the 11 horses who managed to pull off the miraculous stunt since 1919, only 3 have earned it since 1948! In 1973, Secretariat won the Triple Crown and managed to set a world record time of 2:24 in the mile-and-a-half race. Because of his incredible speed and racing power, experts often list him as the #1 best race horse of all time.


Featured image courtesy of Preakness Stakes Twitter. Image of Kentucky Derby courtesy of Bill Brine on Flickr.