California Chrome Could Nab the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes, So Start Getting Excited

After a great workout on Saturday, it's looking more and more like California Chrome could win the Belmont Stakes — and the Triple Crown with it — on Saturday, June 7. The horse sailed around Belmont Park, completing a half-mile in 47.69 seconds with jockey Victor Espinoza along for the ride. Espinoza rode California Chrome to victory in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, and the horse is headed to the Belmont with pretty high expectations.

A bystander, one of hundreds who showed up to check out California Chrome in his last big workout before the race, watched the performance and let this slip, The New York Times reported.

He might just win the Triple Crown.

It's not considered good luck in racing to say that kind of thing (horse racing is a really superstitious world). But California Chrome also has four white feet or socks, which is also considered bad luck, and he's defied everybody's expectations so far. First of all, he cost just $10,000, a staggeringly low sum when it comes to horse-racing. Second, he's straight out of California — hence the name — an unusual provenance for a champion thoroughbred. And his owners, a somewhat motley crew in the horse racing world, go by the name Dumbass Partners...really. The name goes back to someone who told the owners they were making a "dumbass" move by spending $8,000 on California Chrome's mare, Love That Chase.

So even if you like to root for the underdog, California Chrome's not a bad choice next Saturday. In light of that, here's everything you need to know about how hard it is to take the Triple Crown — and the elite group of horses that have earned the distinction.

1. It hasn't happened in a while

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The last time a horse won the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978, and for those of you keeping track at home, that was 36 years ago.

2. It doesn't happen very often

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Just 11 horses have won the Triple Crown title since Sir Barton first swept the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in 1919.

3. Lots of horses try and fail

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Horses running for a Triple Crown are uncommon, but not nearly so uncommon as winning it. 19 horses have run for the Crown and failed, including 2008's runner Big Brown, who didn't finish the race, likely because his shoe came loose.

4. The Belmont Stakes is a hard race to win

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The race, which is run at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, is known as "The Test of the Champion" for a reason. A a mile-and-a-half long, it's the lengthiest race of the three, meaning there's lots of chances for a horse or a jockey to make a wrong move.

All the more reason to cheer on California Chrome this Saturday as the California-bred horse with four white socks and not too much of a pedigree fights to take home the rare title of Triple Crown Winner.