The moment California Chrome crossed the finish line of the Kentucky Derby everyone with even the slightest interest in racing pegged the colt as the Preakness winner.
Why wouldn’t they?
He’d won the Derby geared down in the final 100 yards, by 1 3/4 lengths while jockey Victor Espinoza kicked off his celebration a tad early. The rivals that did gain ground, principally Commanding Curve, didn’t real gain any meaningful ground in deep stretch. The victory also came after California Chrome won his first three starts of the season – in the Cal Cup Derby, Grade 2 San Felipe and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby – by a combined 18 lengths.
The last Triple Crown winner was in 1978, so racing fans are dying for the next one, so much so that conventional wisdom and logical thinking is almost out the door when it comes to this subject.
Two week turnaround after a race every month for the last several months? “No problem,” they say, forgetting that the animals they’re admiring and betting are not like their car or even their lawnmower.
“All racehorses get beat,” Tom Law’s post titled “Be prepared” published on his In the Paddock blog.
California Chrome did indeed win the Preakness, setting up a Triple Crown run three weeks later in the Belmont that went unfulfilled. The point of the column wasn’t to take shots at the Derby winner, or even to try and pick a winner. It merely served as a lesson to learn in advance, that racehorses do indeed lose just when you expect them to win.
Read the whole column here, the eighth most popular story at This Is Horse Racing in 2014.
No. 8: Be prepared
Other stories in the 14 for 2014.
No. 10: Snowbirds
No. 11: Goodbye Dominic
No. 12: For Madison