At first, it looked like it might not happen, but California Chrome displayed the heart of a champion when he came from third place to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
The Kentucky Derby winner – a chestnut colt with four white feet – had been heard coughing after training on Thursday, but was treated with a glycerin throat wash as his assistant trainer declared it was just “a little tickle.”
Winning the $1.5 million Preakness means that California Chrome could be the first horse in 36 years to take the Triple Crown – if he wins the Belmont Stakes in three weeks’ time.
“The Triple Crown means so much, but I’m old-school,” Art Sherman, the horse’s trainer, told Fox News. “Let’s just go one race at a time.”
It’s been a fairy tale rise to the top for the horse, whose nickname is Junior. His mom, who’d won one race, was purchased for $8,000 by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, despite being told that only a “dumb ass” would buy her. Undeterred, they named their partnership Dumb Ass Partners.
California Chrome was named after the owners and their wives went to a restaurant for dinner and wrote down a bunch of words – a waitress pulled the winning monicker out of a hat.
It’s rare for a champion racehorse to come from such an unlikely bloodline, but nobody’s told California Chrome he’s from the wrong side of the tracks. But “the horse don’t know he’s no blue blood,” Coburn told the Los Angeles Times.
Besides, if all goes well this commoner will be wearing a Triple Crown in three weeks’ time.