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California Chrome proves just how difficult a Triple Crown win can be

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Today, June 7, 2014 California Chrome who has been one of the most cheered and favored to win the Triple Crown showed the world that this is not an easy race in a fourth-place loss to a horse named Tonalist in a dead heat with Wicked Stong. California Chrome was the the most bet on triple crown horse of all-time at over $9.8 million.

Triple Crown is one of the most widely celebrated horse races in the country. Throughout history the triple crown has meant that the horse won three of the most important or difficult and prestigious horse racing events. To attain the Triple Crown in the United States, the horse must win the Kentucky Derby, followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes.

Horses are usually three-year-old thoroughbred horses. If a horse wins all three of the key races it is considered the greatest horse racing accomplishment possible. It is very difficult and often dangerous for both horse and rider.

California Chrome was a popular contendor for this win having won the two races prior to the Belmont Stakes this year as the thirty-fourth time a horse has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown. California Chrome is a three year old American Thoroughbred foaled in Coalinga, California. This year California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes with a winning streak of six races including the Santa Anita Derby and the San Felipe Stakes and with an earnings exceeding $3.5 million. If you see picture of the rear leg muscles on that horse you can understand why.

California Chrome’s trainer, Art Sherman who has a home near San Diego, has been working with horses since 1955 became a trainer and former jockey, so he knows the ropes. This experience and a new way of creating what is called a wedge-pad for a horse shoe to raise their heels, is thought to have given California Chrome his edge. Often a thoroughbred has what horse owners call flat feet. Meaning a lot of toe and little heal. This can cause serious problems and injury. Horses need the right size heals in their hooves with good angles in their feet just as any competitive athlete requires the right running shoes to be safe and successful.

California Chrome owner Steve Coburn was frustrated at the loss and rightly so. He makes a good point when he said "if you can't make enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby you can't run in the other two races". The horses in the Triple Crown should have run in the prior two triple crown races to participate in the third. These horses came in fresh whereas California Chrome and a few others raced heavily in the prior two. In all fairness and to get a true Triple Crown winner, the same horses should have competed without new, rested horses entering.

The last Triple Crown winner was in 1978 with a horse called Affirmed and before that was Seattle Slew in 1977 and Secretariat in 1973.

Win or not - each of these horses deserves their favorite treats, a massage and a nice pile of clean shavings.

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