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California Chrome Keeps Triple Crown Dream Alive
Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit-Love The Chase, by Not For Love) kept his Triple Crown hopes alive when scoring a comfortable victory in the US$1.5 million Gr1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse on Saturday, reports bloodhorse.com. After wins in the Preakness and Kentucky Derby, the rags-to-riches 3YO will now head to New York for the Belmont Stakes on 7 June in a bid to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the US Triple Crown. With Victor Espinoza once again in the saddle, California Chrome broke smartly from the gates and settled in an almost identical position as he did in the Derby, sitting just off the leaders in third. Approaching the turn California Chrome made his move, bounding clear at the top of the stretch and drawing away to win by 1.5-lengths over fellow colts Ride On Curlin (Curlin) and Social Inclusion (Pioneer Of The Nile). His winning time of 1:54.84 on a fast track was the best since Curlin clocked 1:53.46 in 2007. Veteran trainer Art Sherman, who will keep California Chrome at Pimlico for a few days to recover, had said before the race that he wasn't thrilled about running the horse again so soon after the Derby. "To me, this race was even a little tougher knowing that I'm coming back in a little shorter distance than I normally ever run them, and the time I give them to rest between races," Sherman said. "I was a little concerned about that, but he has a big heart this horse – big." He added, "It's quite a thrill. I knew we had to run harder to win this race. He's a real racehorse, and I hope a mile and a half is up his alley, too."