They may be named Dumbass Partners, but Steve Coburn and Perry Martin look pretty smart on Saturday after California Chrome, bred of an $8,000 mare and $2,500 sire, won the 139th Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.
With the second jewel of horse racing's Triple Crown safely tucked away, California Chrome becomes the 13th horse to enter Belmont with a chance to complete the feat since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. The last horse, I'll Have Another, did not start in 2012. Big Brown, in 2008, did not finish. Smarty Jones, who finished the Belmont Stakes in second in 2004, was the last to finish.
The 1-½-mile Belmont Stakes will be held three weeks from now, June 7, in New York.
California Chrome started well and stayed just off the pace early at Pimlico, just as he did in the Kentucky Derby, running in third. He made his move at the three-quarter mile mark, then pulled away from Social Inclusion down the stretch to win in 1:54.84. That is the fastest time since Curlin in 2007. Curlin's offspring, Ride on Curlin, finished second 1½ lengths back and Social Inclusion third.
California Chrome, dubbed the "people's horse" by his connections, became the fifth California-bred horse to win the Preakness and the first since Snow Chief in 1986. He was also the first California-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby since 1962.
California Chrome entered the 1-3/16-mile Preakness a heavy 3/5 favorite after winning the Kentucky Derby handily. He stayed just off the pace that race, then found another gear down the backstretch, leading by as many as five lengths before finishing the 1¼-mile race first in 2:03.66. The only criticism was that his time was not particularly impressive, his dry time the slowest since 1974. But many would counter he ran the race jockey Victor Espinoza asked of him and it was enough to win. At 5/1, Social Inclusion had the second-best odds entering the race.