The Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome once again pulled away down the final stretch and charged ahead to win the 139th Preakness Stakes Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.
Riding out of the No. 3 post, jockey Victor Espinoza broke California Chrome to a great start out of the gate and remained at the top of the pack throughout the sub-two minute race.
Espinoza and California Chrome made their big move on the final turn and kept Ride On Curlin at bay to become the sixth horse in the last 12 years to take both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness for a chance at the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 and the 13th in history.
Ride On Curlin wound up in second, followed by Social Inclusion. It was the second Preakness victory for Espinoza, who last won aboard War Emblem in 2002.
Owned by Steve and Carolyn Coburn and Denise and Perry Martin, California Chrome is the fifth California-bred horse to win the Preakness. It was also the first career Preakness win for trainer Art Sherman, who only two weeks ago became the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky Derby at 77.
Pablo Del Monte angled out of the No. 9 post to take the early lead while attempting to cut out California Chrome early. After the first turn it was Pablo Del Monte in first, then California Chrome and longshot Ria Antonia ahead.
At the top of the stretch Espinoza made his final move, but so did Social Inclusion rider Luis Contreras. Social Inclusion moved to the outside, but California Chrome used his final burst for victory.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the horse and Victor,” Sherman said during NBC’s telecast. “They rode a perfect race.”
The racing world will now turn to New York’s Belmont Stakes on June 7.