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The Triple Crown: Can California Chrome Win It All?

One win away from the first Triple Crown in 36 years. We’ll look at horse racing now, and California Chrome.

Groom Raul Rodriguez, right, rubs Belmont Stakes hopeful California Chrome in the barn at Belmont Park race track in Elmont, NY., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP)

Groom Raul Rodriguez, right, rubs Belmont Stakes hopeful California Chrome in the barn at Belmont Park race track in Elmont, NY., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP)

California Chrome got his name for his flashy white markings on all four legs.  Legs so powerful that the Cinderella story horse now prepping for the Belmont Stakes could soon be the first thoroughbred in 36 years to win the Triple Crown:  Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes — all three.  In a world of million-dollar pedigrees, this is a $10,000 horse, with a modesty to his entourage that has charmed the nation.  Horse racing is not always charming.  But it’s in a charmed moment right now.  This hour On Point:  the California Chrome story, and the race for the Triple Crown.

– Tom Ashbrook


Andy Serling, handicapper for the New York Racing Association. (@andyserling)

Claire Novak, online features editor for Blood-Horse Magazine. (@bh_cnovak)

Bill Dwyre, sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times. (@DwyreLATimes)

Tom Durkin, sportscaster and thoroughbred horse racing announcer.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: When handicapper Andy Serling talks, bettors listen — “Even the most self-reliant horseplayers took notice when, on the second day of the season, Serling picked five winners, paying $11.80, $11.40, $16.80, $7.50 and $9.10. On the day of a Pick Six carryover, his top selections captured the first three legs of the wager, paying $11.60, $15.80 and $10, and then he nailed an impossible-looking $27.60 winner who helped produce a Pick Six return of $78,716.”

Blood-Horse: Waiting, and Waiting, for Crowning Glory – “In the same room with the banners at the Louisville museum, a podium rises about six feet from the ground to ensure prime viewing of a silver trophy with gold studs. Atop the base sits an inverted pyramid with each side bearing the name of one of three races: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont. This is the Triple Crown trophy.”

Los Angeles Times: Crowns all around for Kings and California Chrome? – “For California Chrome, rags-to-riches doesn’t quite capture it. When he started, he wasn’t an underdog, he was a no-chance. He makes ’09 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, a 50-1 longshot, look like the 10th seed in a tennis tournament. If California Chrome were one of those young pitchers from India earning a pro baseball contract and featured in the current movie ‘Million Dollar Arm,’ he would have gone on to pitch a no-hitter in the seventh game of the World Series.”

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  • Matt MC

    Hello! Hello… Hell…o Hel… lo… o… o… o…

    • Matt MC

      We are SO into horse racing!

      • Expanded_Consciousness

        Only 9 topics a week and you waste a whole show on horse racing? Nothing else important in the world, in academia, in the arts? Nah! Next week, an hour on the history and current state of the monkey wrench! Can’t wait!

        • creaker

          The distressing part is this will be talked about with the same gusto as something that actually matters. Which makes its sound like the real issues of the world are no more important than the outcome of a horse race to the media.

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            Yes, it gives it an equal platform.

            Tom: “That is absolutely fascinating! I’m so glad you are here today. In a moment, I will turn, if I may, to our many callers who have been waiting patiently to chime in. But first, at our website, one listener writes: ‘Uh, so how exactly do you fix one of those horse races?’ and another: ‘I have always wondered, why is a horse shoe lucky?’”

        • Matt MC

          ***Throws quarters at Tom Ashbrook*** (I still love your show, even though I’m not at all interested in horse racing)

  • creaker

    Looks like I have a free hour to listen to something else.

  • J__o__h__n

    The best thing about horse racing is that the horses can’t recite sports cliches after the race.

  • malkneil

    Horse racing just seems like a playground for rich people with time and money to spare.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      When they aren’t on the golf links.

    • HonestDebate1

      Not really, there are jockeys, grooms, stable managers, feeders, breeders, trainers, manure shovelers, blacksmiths, veterinarians, groundskeepers, hay farmers, feed mills, saddle fitters, plus many more and their families who depend on this industry.

  • Jill122

    Back in the day, you could go to a horse race if you believed that gambling would change your lot in life, or you could play the numbers. Today you can play the lottery — legally!! Or drive to a casino. You obviously don’t remember a time when morality laws ruled a large part of American life.

    Horse racing is a sport where the poor and their dreams can have lunch together — if it doesn’t become a habit.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      Let’s not romanticize it. Horse racing, the lottery, and scratch tickets are places where the poor give up money they desperate for other things.

      • HonestDebate1

        Horse racing is different. I get your point about the lottery and scratch tickets, freedom’s a bitch.

        There is no athletic beauty is the lottery. The horse racing industry is very important to the horse industry in general. That’s where the registered Thoroughbreds come from. We must have had 100 over the years.

  • TheHeimer

    Excellent show today with a great selection of guests. Nice research and well done, I wasn’t expecting a mainstream radio show to “get it,” and was happy to be proven wrong.

  • JR

    This was an outstanding program. I think the criticism here is unfounded. I understand horse racing’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but this is a transcendent, possibly historic event, worthy of this hour long broadcast. Great job by the panelists to help explain what I’ll be watching tomorrow.

  • tbphkm33

    Too bad. As soon as I saw California Chrome pull out front so early, I knew there would be no Triple Crown winner this year. It is a special horse that can sprint in the shorter Kentucky Derby, and endure the length of the Belmont. One of these days, that horse will rise. That is the fascinating thing about thoroughbred horse breeding, suddenly that one horse rises out of the shadows.

  • HonestDebate1

    The plot thickens with the injury.

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