Photo: Artwork: Greg Ambrose / Photo: Jeff Mallard
Something happened on the way to the coronation of California Chrome as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years. It’s called history. It seems as if from the time California Chrome crossed the finish line on May 3rd at Churchill Downs, we all put on the rose colored glasses and never took them off until witnessing “CC” run out of gas, to finish in a dead heat for fourth in the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes.
Let’s face it. Everyone, from the most notable horse racing expert to the novice Chromie, we all got caught up in the hype. Even with vivid memories of each failed Triple Crown attempt, this 56 year old never lets an opportunity for a potential history memory pass without a keepsake…
… for a small donation to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, you got the photographic thrill of riding California Chrome.
The Chromies arrived early. By 9:00am co-owner Steve Coburn was greeting fans from his front row mezzanine seat waving to all the fans on the grandstand apron below as they tossed him hats, T-shirts, programs and other Chrome souvenirs for him to autograph.
NTRA take note, the horse racing female fan base is growing rapidly. The Chromie Quartet of Sheila Alcala (AZ), Cathy Seviola (MN), Diana Carreon (CA) and DeeAnn Bloom (MN) met when Zenyetta was reeling off victories.
Showing their allegiance to the CA-bred, Renee George and Nicki Cracknell, members of the WPRA (Women’s Professional Rodeo Association) traveled from all the way from southern California in hopes of witnessing history.
While Nick and Jon Hansen seemed to draw plenty of attention as walking billboards for loudmouthgolf.com. The Hansen Brothers (wasn’t going to pass up that line) have been to many horse racing venues including the Preakness and Kentucky Derby, sporting the loud attire.
At the end of the day, NYRA, the entire horse racing industry and Breathe Right Nasal Strips benefitted from the possibility of crowning the 12th Triple Crown champion.
What the 102,199 in attendance on Saturday at Belmont Park got was a festive day to celebrate the Sport of Kings.