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Horse with Ties to Golden Gate Fields Trying to be First Triple Crown Winner Since 1978

Golden Gate Fields in Albany is hosting a Belmont Stakes party this weekend in honor of California Chrome.

California Chrome. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
California Chrome. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
A racehorse with connections to Albany's Golden Gate Fields is looking to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 this weekend.
 
California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby on May 3 and the Preakness Stakes on May 17 and is slated to compete in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. The horse has been undefeated since last December, finishing first in six consecutive races. The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978.

Related article: Triple Crown: Hopes of Entire State Rest on a Horse of Modest Pedigree

Since then, 11 horses have won both the Derby and the Preakness but gone on to lose the Belmont. Only 11 horses in history have come in first in all three races in the same year. California Chrome's trainer and jockey both have connections to the Bay Area. The horse's trainer, Art Sherman, was the second-leading trainer at Golden Gate Fields at eight meetings between 2001 and 2007.
 
Sherman relocated to Southern California in 2008 but his son, Steve Sherman, has continued to operate a racing stable at Golden Gate Fields, according to track officials. California Chrome's jockey is Victor Espinoza, a Mexico City native who began racing in the Bay Area in 1993 and was Golden Gate Fields' lead apprentice rider in 1994.
 
He previously rode the horse War Emblem to victory in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 2002 but came in eighth at the Belmont, falling short of the Triple Crown.
 
To celebrate California Chrome, Golden Gate Fields will host what it calls the "biggest Belmont Stakes party in the Bay Area" on Saturday morning. All the track's gates will open at 9 a.m. and a 10-race program will start at 12:15 p.m.

Coors and Miller beers and hot dogs will cost only $1 each. There will also be a wine festival from noon to 4 p.m. featuring 17 wineries and a trackside view of the races. Meanwhile, the Belmont Stakes will be broadcast on the track's more than 2,000 televisions.

—By Bay City News

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