The flag is up: California Chrome 1.5 miles away from historyPublished 3:23pm Thursday, June 5, 2014
He is training at a distance of 2 3/8 miles in anticipation for his historic run at the Triple Crown and a rare place in history.
It has been 36 years since the last Triple Crown winner (Affirmed in 1978), and all eyes will be on the horse that was an afterthought and cost little to nothing.
California Chrome is ready and his 77-year-old trainer, Art Sherman indicates that “all systems are go” for the California bred horse.
My favorite horse was Secretariat, who won the Triple Crown in 1973 with Ron Turcotte up.
In between Secretariat (Big Red) and Affirmed was Seattle Slew, won pulled off the hat trick of horse racing in 1977.
Here are the rest of the names and year won:
Sir Barton (1919)
Gallant Fox (1930)
War Admiral (1937)
Count Fleet (1943)
To put things in perspective, here are few names of horses that won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but failed to win the grueling Belmont Stakes:
War Emblem (2002)
Funny Cide (2003)
Smarty Jones (2004)
Big Brown (2008)
I can also remember Tim Tam (1958), Carry Back (1961), and Northern Dancer (1964) and many, many other great names who for whatever reason, did not complete the ultimate trifecta of racing.
Eight times the winner of the Derby and the Preakness ended up second. Along with Tim Tam and Smarty Jones, Pensive (1944), Forward Pass (1968), Majestic Prince (1969), Sunday Silence (1989), Silver Charm (1997) and Real Quiet (1998) all fell short of the coveted Triple Crown.
There is $1.5 million at stake, but by now, the owners are not concerned with the money. Chrome is now worth a fortune.
The competition will be stiff, strong and well-rested for race.
Commanding Curve, second in the Derby and Ride On Curlin, runner-up in the Preakness will both be in the field.
There will be 11 horses at the gate at post time (6 p.m. EST), and Chrome will break from post position two.
His jockey, Victor Espinosa will need to get him into a safely comfortable position early, and hopefully he has enough to finish the deal.
You do not want to get boxed outside or fall too far back and then be put in a position to play catch-up, which will not give him enough to finish strong.
California Chrome is the heavy favorite at 3-5, but that means absolutely nothing when it comes to the Belmont Stakes.
So the stage is set, the plots and sub-plots are now being sent all over the world through the social-media or the mass-media.
Win or lose, we always pray for every horse and jockey to come away free of injury.
Barbaro and the memory of his disturbing injury will always be remembered by every fan of this sport called the “Sport of Kings.”
Notes on a scorecard:
Now there are only two. When the NCAA College Baseball Championship began play, there were 10 SEC teams involved.
After this past weekend, only two made it to the Super-Regional.
Mississippi and Vanderbilt both won their respective brackets and will advance this next weekend.
Vanderbilt will host Stanford, and Ole Miss travels to play Louisiana-Lafayette.
Other super-regional contests are as follows:
Oklahoma State vs. UC Irvine
Texas vs. Houston
Louisville vs. Kennesaw State
Texas Tech vs. College of Charleston
TCU vs. Pepperdine
Virginia vs. Maryland
I think UC Irvine is the team to watch after defeating the top seed overall in Oregon State. I also like their head coach Mike Gillespie.
It is also difficult to not pick my alma mater Pepperdine over TCU .
Both teams are deep in pitching.
College World Series picks:
Not going with my heart, I will pick Texas Tech, TCU, Virginia and La-Lafayette to advance to the World Series, along with Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State, Houston and Louisville.
Teams remaining that have won the College World series:
Oklahoma State (1)
Until next time…
Meyers is a sports columnist for The Outlook. You can follow him on Twitter at @brucemeyers11.