Kentucky Derby Winner California Chrome to Contend for Triple Crown Championship

May 5, 2014

California Chrome at the 2014 San Felipe with Victor Espinoza on board
Credit Wikimedia Commons

California Chrome's rather easy Kentucky Derby win is once again prompting speculation about a Triple Crown threat. 

The easy winner, with far fewer dollars invested compared to a typical Derby champion, will head to Maryland two weeks from now to compete in the Preakness.

Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Director David Switzer says the horse has made a big statement in California and Kentucky and the three year old's relatively low cost breeding history has increased its sentimental support. 

But he cautions winning the Triple Crown remains a very tough challenge.

"I think he'll be in good shape for the Preakness, but the extra quarter of a mile between the Derby running a mile and a quarter and the Belmont at a mile and a half, that could be a different story," said Switzer. "And that's usually where the rubber meets the road." 

Switzer says it's hard to say where the California bred horse will land after racing its last race.

"Where California Chrome ends up, most of the time if you win the Kentucky Derby, you're probably gonna end up going to stud in Kentucky," said Switzer. "That's yet to be determined with the horse.  If he wins the triple crown, he's got a danged good shot at coming back to Kentucky.  But, his pedigree is not really strong, but he is very successful race horse." 

Switzer called California Chrome's journey to success "not common and not normal."  But, the veteran Thoroughbred Association director says it's a "great story" and proves one doesn't have to be a person of great wealth to enjoy the sport.