ELMONT, N.Y. (AP) — The names are legendary in horse racing history. Whirlaway, Citation, Secretariat, Affirmed.
California Chrome will be trying to join their sparse ranks as the 12th Triple Crown winner in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
But it won’t be easy.
Eighteen horses have gone into the race with a chance to join the Triple Crown club only to be turned aside by the grueling mile-and-a-half conclusion to horse racing’s big three.
War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and Big Brown failed in the Belmont after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in the last 12 years alone.
Ten rivals led by Wicked Strong, Tonalist and Ride On Curlin will try to keep California Chrome, jockey Victor Espinosa and trainer Art Sherman from ending a 36-year drought Triple Crown drought.