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HRN Answers the big question: Will California Chrome do it?

 

Ashley Tamulonis - The optimist in me believes that California Chrome can do it. He's beaten everyone that has challenged him so far this season. The realist in me says that this is a horse race and anything can happen. Does he have the foundation? Absolutely! He has a veteran team behind him, and Art Sherman has done everything he can possibly do to prepare America's darling for the race. Also in his favor is that fact that Victor Espinoza has the call for Ever Rider in the 12 furlong Brooklyn earlier on the card, giving him race day experience over the track at the same distance as the Belmont. If all goes according to plan, California Chrome is strictly the one to beat, and I'm confident he can do it.


David Gutfreund - 35 Triple Crowns have passed without a winner of Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont in same year.  12 have made it to New York and failed to get job done.  California Chrome's leads have shrunk in the stretch in Louisville and Baltimore.  With recent history against him and questions about distance, I fear the racing community will be disappointed by another failed Triple Crown attempt.


Tony Bada Bing - Whether California Chrome wins the Belmont Stakes and thus, the Triple Crown seems more a question for the gods or the ages. For those that have been unsuccessful in fulfilling a dream following at least a two-race winning streak outnumbers those that have turned the horse racing hat-trick by a two-to-one margin 22 to 11. Chrome’s Belmont quest seems much different than Smarty Jones’ or Real Quiet’s both of whom I thought were shoo-ins. So I, just a mere mortal, say California Chrome does it, by an inch or a pole is the only thing of which I am unsure.


Matt Scott - California Chrome will win the Triple Crown for a multitude of reasons that you'll likely hear from a multitude of people, but here's my belief: He's destined to do it. Aside from his seemingly uncapped talent, he's disproved every conventional "guideline" that suggests a horse of his breeding, with his owners, and his trainer should never have made it this far. Chrome is transforming a sport that merely weeks ago was on its knees praying for a hero. He's outrunning every disbeliever that says he can't, or shouldn't do it, and his connections have remained nothing but humble in the process. The sport wants Chrome to win. The sport needs Chrome to win. I want Chrome to win, and I truly believe that he will. And if you need any more supernatural, superstitious, "don't change your socks or shave for 5 weeks" type of weirdness, this is Tom Durkin's last year to call a Triple Crown winner, and there's no other person we should hear as a horse breaks the drought.


Matt Shifman - Throughout his six race win streak, California Chrome has been amazingly consistent in the way that he has won his races. The California-bred has made his victories look easy by always getting a good trip, and that shows his quality and class. Thus, one of his challengers is going to have to run an excellent race, which will have to be the best performance of their career, to deny California Chrome the Triple Crown.

 

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Alex Fawell - Chrome is a very good horse, but this is the Belmont. He should get the type of trip that's been successful as of late, but I worry about those last two furlongs. I like Medal Count here, as he should handle the mile & a half. As a caveat, however, California Chrome has proven me wrong a time or two, & it would not be disappointing in the least bit to see him do so again.


Melanie Martines - I believe race should be in California Chrome's favor. He'll need a clean break, get a good position early/settle in, and the "key" will be when to make his move around the Big Sandy. Yes, there are others in race with better pedigree, but I am confident Victor Espinoza and Chrome will work their magic!  He’ll do it!!!


Mary Cage - While there are many reasons why California Chrome could lose this race (the distance, fresh competitors, the strain of the Triple Crown), he has clearly proven to be the best three-year-old in the nation. His versatility and his brilliance should get the job done. I cannot predict whether he will win or not, but along with most racing fans, I am hoping that he does.


Bryan Brinkmeyer - I have felt more confident about other Triple Crown contenders in the past. But, all of them failed. When it comes to California Chrome there’s almost this mysterious horse that keeps exceeding so many expectations.  When it’s time for him to finally lose, it is never even close. That's why I’ve become convinced that the Belmont Stakes will prove there’s nothing to it; he’s just the best 3-yr-old and he will win again en route to acing the “Test of the Champion”.


Lenny Moon - California Chrome is the classiest, fastest, most talented and most versatile horse in the Belmont.  On paper he appears unbeatable but we all know races aren't run on paper and the Belmont is the most unique race in all of horse racing.  I think California Chrome will win but won't be surprised if he comes up short like the dozen that have tried since Affirmed captured the Triple Crown in 1978.

 

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Jarrod Horak - California Chrome will not win the Triple Crown. The Preakness has become a negative Belmont prep and the quirky Test of Champions is a stamina contest for fresh horses. The need to breed for speed and changing training methods have made it extremely difficult to complete the sweep for the modern thoroughbred.


Laurie Ross - Can Chrome polish off the crown?  Yes.  At least on paper. California Chrome has four things going for him, athleticism, intelligence, attitude and the large heart factor – also known as the “X” Factor. Secretariat had it, in fact, all of the Triple Crown winners back to and including Gallant Fox had the x-factor.   Chrome has the bottom, or foundation – he’s raced 12 times and he’s been galloping about two miles a day through the Triple Crown races.  It’s been reported that he gained weight after both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, which is rare. Chrome’s intelligence and attitude are also key factors.  Nothing appears to rattle this horse. He’s also defeated six of his rivals previously and most of those rivals have beat up on the new horses in the field.  There are three things that can defeat California Chrome. His pedigree finally catches up with him; he breaks poorly or is boxed in and taken out of his preferred running style, or jockey error.


Gary Quill - Torn between being "all in" and "guarded optimism". The eyes and heart say "YES!", California Chrome will become the 12th Triple Crown winner. Yet history and the field he must beat provides a dose of reality. Unlike many of the failed attempts over the past 36 years to seal the deal (re: Big Brown, Smart Jones, etc.) where the competition was very suspect, this field has a number of quality runners who could easily be the 2014 version of Da' Tara or Birdstone. Horse Racing Wagering Rule #1: Bet with your head, not with your heart. Hedge your "heart" bet in exotics using "CC" on top with a others while using a single runner (other than CC) in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th hole. This way you're not locked into betting for or against history being made.   


Andrew Champagne - Yes, California Chrome will win the Triple Crown. He got a dream set-up at the post position draw, and with no conceivable early speed around him at the break, Victor Espinoza should be able to maneuver California Chrome to wherever he wants to be going into the first turn. While the 12-furlong distance is a concern, he's beaten most of these horses before, and it'd take a massive step up by one of them, or a huge step back by the favorite, for an upset to occur.

Jasen Mangrum - I think California Chrome will do it on Saturday.  Victor Espinoza has been there before, so there is less chance of mistakes being made. He has an abundance of tactical speed to allow him to get fantastic trips. Most importantly, California Chrome seems to run the turns better than any of his competitors, and has put insurmountable leads on the opposition between the 1/4 and 3/16 pole during the win streak he's on. I expect Saturday to be no different.

 

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Michael Barry - Will he do it? Yes…I believe California Chrome will become our 12th Triple Crown winner. He has the talent, mind, and foundation. In recent history, he has been the most impressive horse I have seen on the Derby Trail and I do not think we have even seen his best yet. He is by far the most gifted horse in the field and I expect Espinoza to empty the tank in the Belmont. History will be made this Saturday, folks. Sit back and appreciate it, enjoy it, and celebrate it.


Chris Sorenson - With six wins in a row, C-Chrome has a chance to break a 36 year old drought and take racing's Triple Crown. He has proven in the first two races that he is better and faster than the rest, leaving a little gas in the tank at the end of each of those races. Belmont winners are typically no more than 4 lengths off the lead at any point in the race, and Chrome's running style sure fits that profile. Finally, the power of the breathing strips will not be denied. I think he has an excellent shot at the Triple Crown this year!


Candice Curtis - California Chrome will win the Triple Crown because he has proven over and over that he is the best three-year-old in the country. Also, I had a dream before the Derby that he'd be on the lead in the final furlong in the Belmont. And also, today, when we got our parking passes for the HRN HQ, I said "I hope they're purple." Wouldn't you know - those parking passes were PURPLE.


Garnet Barnsdale - I thought before the Derby that California Chrome was a notch above his rivals and after watching the Derby and Preakness there is no reason to think any of his rivals will knock him off. His ability to create his own "perfect" trips will be the difference. Yes, he will do it!


Heidi Carpenter - In considering whether California Chrome will win the Triple Crown, I can’t help but think of the Greek myth of Icarus, who donned hand-crafted wings of wax and feathers and, against the warnings of his father, became drunk with the power of flight and flew too close to the sun. The sun melted the wax of the wings and, left with nothing but his bare arms, Icarus plunged into the sea. Yes, I have been burned many times. Silver Charm, Real Quiet, War Emblem, Smarty Jones—I saw something in each of them and allowed my hopes to fly too high. But despite my hardened exterior, I also see something very special in California Chrome. I am cautiously hopeful that he will capture that elusive 12th Triple Crown but if he doesn’t, then that’s okay, too. He’s a very good horse and if he stays sound, I have a feeling he will deliver some great performances down the road.

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Dan Munn - Wow, what a story this has been for America - not only at home but on the international stage.Thousands upon thousands around the world will be tuning in hoping that California Chrome can do it, and my personal feeling is that there's only one horse standing in his way. Keep your Tonalists and the Commanding Curves, this is Wicked Strong's time to shine and it is with regret that I feel he may halt another Triple Crown bid on the wire.

Nick Costa - California Chrome hasn't given off any signs of weakening. On the contrary, he keeps getting stronger. I like the way he quickly secures position out of the gate, and then goes on cruise control before bounding away. He's been doing it that way for six straight races (all wins). Can he do it one more time? Is there any fuel left in the gas tank? From what I've seen on the track watching his races thus far, and from what he showed in his final preparation, I'll say yes he can. But this contest is certainly no "gimme." The test of 12 furlongs is both an unusual and demanding distance for a racehorse. The toughest assignment to accomplish. It's his race to lose, but if he wins, he's truly a great horse that really earned it.

Brian Zipse - Will he do it? That is the $64,000 dollar question. The romantic in me believes in this thing we call the Triple Crown. After waiting so long for the next one, I have to believe that it is time. To say that we are due, is an understatement. The realist in me has been burned too many times to let myself completely believe that tomorrow ends happily. Fighting these two sides of Brian, I will rely on my handicapping ... California Chrome will win tomorrow's Belmont wire-to-wire just like the last few Triple Crown winners have ... at least I hope he does!

 

 

 

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Older Comments about HRN Answers the big question: Will California Chrome do it? ...

I was thinking that the last of the aligning stars was Tom Durkin finally getting to call a triple crown right before he retires. Then I remembered that Larry Collmus calls the triple now - but is it just for the broadcast and Tom will be calling at Belmont? I sure hope so!!!!
War Emblem has to be playing in Espinoza's mind. I think about his comment in the Preakness, where he said Social Inclusion forced his hand when he made what Espinoza called an early move. I think that's going to happen in the Belmont too, and even earlier; probably midway in the final turn. Espinoza's reaction will be the same, guaranteed. He'll go with that horse, which will probably be General A Rod. At that point he may still have the horse to open up a 2-3 length separation, but he would be a long way from home, perhaps about 3 furlongs out, and even Ride On Curlin may be able to wear him down this time around, although I think there are others more likely to win this race. Other horses in the race have proven to have a liking for the Belmont surface. Who knows if C. Chrome will. Workouts mean nothing.
California Chrome and Smarty are different horses. Very similar but the won't be able to double team this horse as they did Smarty, as he does exactly what Victor wants. Much more versatile. Having said that, the 5/9/ and 11 all have credible shots to win. The #9 Wicked Strong a little more than the others. Tonalist, a horse not for the followers of pedigree, but look at CC. Tonalist moved very easy over that same track expanding his lead, but he's green. Tonalist in my exotics and a flat. I'll also put him under and over CC, WS, ROC. As for the others. Medal Count, nothing on dirt yet, Samraat looked to be backing up in the KD, GAR's form seems to be going backwards. Matterhorn,Matuszak,Commissioner, why are they here? Commanding Curve, to slow.
Everybody disses Chrome's pedigree, but that it's just his parents that don't belong. Do they 'not fit' because they aren't any good or because they never got the chance to find out one way or the other? There is a huge difference there.
Come on Smarty Jones and Real Quiet were suppose to win the TC but they both got nipped!
This is an athletic individual who so far has been able to make a decisive move and put the races away before the stretch (and then lose lengths in the stretch. Mile and a half he will have to make move latter (will it be as impactful) and then maintain in stretch. I think Wicked and/or Medal or Ride will be run him down. If he once again makes me eat my words as he has done 3 straigth times I wont be heartbroken; but will be impressed.
Mimi, his sire had a respiratory infection early in his three year old year and was never the same horse afterwards. His mother was examined after she was retired from the track, and it was found that she had been racing with a trapped epiglottis. It is quite likely as a result that neither of his parents raced anything close to their potential. Going back from his parents there is nothing but very royal blue blood - sire if sires Pulpit, his sire of sires AP Indy with his sire Seattle Slew and broodmare sire Secretariat - and that is only from his sire line. Look at his mare lines - lots more champions all over the place there,too. I think that Chrome, like my childhood hero Seattle Slew, will end up writing his own pedigree on the track.
Same story again but im rooting for him
Chrome hits the home run........again.
Chromie is my homie and he WILL bring it home!!! GO JUNIOR!!!!!!!
like seeing a 12 year old kid then at 15....What a change.
Of course he is going to win!!!
I have seen comparisons to Chrome's appearance in April vs Now. It is amazing how much muscle and weight he has gained. I expect a monster effort.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.