Preakness Stakes 139

View Preakness Stakes 139 from paddock to press conference as California Chrome takes the second jewel of the Triple Crown!

Preakness 139 holds high hopes for the connections of California Chrome, can he win the second jewel of the Triple Crown?

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Photo: Dave Harmon

The Kid Cruz post position sign.

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Photo: Dave Harmon

Social Inclusion starts his way to the paddock.

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Photo: Chad Harmon

California Chrome and connections on the way to paddock.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

California Chrome trainer Art Sherman and two lovely girls walking to the paddock prior to the Preakness Stakes.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Owner Steve Coburn waves on his way to the paddock.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Alan Sherman, left, with groom Raul Rodriguez, right, lead California Chrome to paddock.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

General a Rod and his connections walking to the paddock.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Ride On Curlin with trainer Billy Gowan walk towards the paddock.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

California Chrome and his decorated Pony horse head towards the starting gate.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Preakness Stakes contender Social Inclusion, with Luis Contreras up, move towards the starting gate from the post parade.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

Preakness contender Ride On Curlin, with Joel Rosario up, walk in the post parade while heading towards the starting gate.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

California Chrome, with Victor Espinoza up, venture towards the starting gate while exiting the post parade.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

The field breaks from the starting gate in Preakness 134.

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Photo: Courtney Heeney

The early pace was set by Pablo Del Monte and jockey Jeffrey Sanchez from post 9. Espinoza put California Chrome in the mix early from post 3 just outside of the leader heading into the first turn, but the filly Ria Antonia was sent up outside of the favorite by Calvin Borel.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

The Preakness Stakes field passes by for the first time May 17, 2014.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

Victor Espinoza then had to back off a bit and ended up stalking the top two through an opening quarter-mile in :23.56 and a half-mile in a lively :46.85.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

When Ria Antonio backed off heading into the far turn, California Chrome made his move outside of Pablo Del Monte, who contined to lead after completing six furlongs in 1:11.06. But when Luis Contreras got Social Inclusion under way, California Chrome was sandwiched for a brief period before Espinoza and 'Chrome took over from between horses just past the three-eighths pole.

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Photo: Courtney Heeney

California Chrome was three lengths clear at the furlong mark from Social Inclusion. The only competitor with a shot in the final eighth of a mile was Ride On Curlin, who rallied from ninth early under Joel Rosario in a quality effort.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

California Chrome moves down the stretch during the 2014 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

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Photo: Courtney Heeney

With Victor Espinoza riding for trainer Art Sherman, California Chrome got a trip similar to that in the Kentucky Derby; he rated just off the early leaders, bid on the far turn, made the top and drew away to victory. At the finish the Lucky Pulpit colt had 1 1/2 lengths on fast-closing Ride On Curlin, who was 6 1/2 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Social Inclusion. General a Rod was fourth.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

The time for 1 3/16 miles on a fast track was 1:54.84, best since Curlin was clocked in 1:53.46 in 2007.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

California Chrome is chased by Ride On Curlin in the stretch. Trainer William Gowan was thrilled with the effort turned in by Daniel Dougherty's Ride On Curlin. He said if the Curlin colt comes out of the Preakness in good shape, he most likely will compete in the Belmont.

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Photo: Chad B. Harmon

California Chrome runs down the final stretch.

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Photo: Chad B. Harmon

California Chrome with Victor Espinoza upin the PreaknessStakes at Pimlico on May 17, 2014.

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Photo: Chad B. Harmon

California Chrome trained very well at Pimlico the week leading up to the Preakness. His connections were confident going in to the race, though they expected the colt would have a target on his back.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

California Chrome passes a full grandstand as he approaches the finish line.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

California Chrome enters the light of the finish line.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

California Chrome crosses the finish line to win the 139th Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Victor Espinoza celebrates after winning the Preakness Stakes aboard California Chrome at Pimlico on May 17, 2014.

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Photo: Chad B. Harmon

Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's California Chrome kept his Triple Crown hopes alive with a smooth victory in the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course May 17.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Jockey Victor Espinoza jumps up in saddle after guiding California Chrome to the win in the second leg of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

"It's an awesome feeling," said Espinoza, who in 2002 won the first two legs of the Triple Crown with War Emblem but lost the Belmont. "It was a crazy race. I got more tired mentally than physically. It worked out well and he's an amazing horse. I saw a horse go to the front (Pablo Del Monte) and I said, 'I'll sit behind him.' Then I saw another one come (Ria Antonia), and I had to use my breaks. But as soon as the other horse got clear of me, it worked out perfectly."

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Photo: Rick Samuels

Victor Espinoza celebrates California Chrome's victory.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

Art Sherman on NBC after California Chrome's win.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

California Chrome is being escorted past the grandstand following his Preakness win.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

Victor Espinoza celebrates with the fans aboard California Chrome after winning the Preakness at Pimlico on May 17, 2014.

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Photo: Chad B. Harmon

Assistant trainer Alan Sherman hugging a California Chrome team member after the win.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Exercise rider Willie Delgado high fives after California Chrome wins the Preakness.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Sherman, who plans to keep California Chrome at Pimlico for a few days, earlier said he wasn't thrilled with running the horse again after just two weeks following the rigorous Derby.

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Photo: Chad B. Harmon

After wins in the Preakness and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), California Chrome will head to New York for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7 with the chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

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Photo: Rick Samuels

California Chrome, with jockey Victor Espinoza in the irons enters the winner's circle with assistant trainer Alan Sherman leading the way after winning the second leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza receive the winner's blanket of flowers with trainer Art Sherman.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

"I don't know how to explain how I feel within my heart and soul," Steve Coburn said. "It's hard for me because I get very emotional about it. I honestly believe this horse is America's horse. He's giving everybody that little light bulb, and when it clicks on, you know what? We can do this.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

Jockey Victor Espinoza holds the winner's trophy aloft after winning the Preakness aboard California Chrome.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

"To me, this race was even a little tougher knowing that I'm coming back in a little shorter distance than I normally ever run them, and the time I give them to rest between races," trainer Art Sherman said. "I was a little concerned about that, but he has big heart this horse—big.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

Owner Steven Coburn holds the winner's trophy in the air after California Chrome won the Preakness Stakes.

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Photo: Skip Dickstein

"It's quite a thrill. I knew we had to run harder to win this race. He's a real racehorse, and I hope a mile and a half is up his alley, too." said trainer Art Sherman.

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Victor Espinoza

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Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Art Sherman and Victor Espinoza smile at the post race press conference following California Chrome's win in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland. Sherman, Espinoza, and all of California Chrome's connections move on towards the Belmont Stakes to attempt a Triple Crown victory.

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Photo: Scott Tracy

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