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California Chrome leaves Pimlico for Belmont Park

With the short-lived nasal strip controversy resolved and wins in two Triple Crown races on his resume, California Chrome arrived in Elmont, N.Y., shortly after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, where his connections plan to run the Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby champion in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

Chrome, who won the 139th Preakness by 1 1/2 lengths on Saturday, will try to become the first winner of horse racing's Triple Crown since Affirmed won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1978.

“He looks great,” assistant trainer Alan Sherman said in a statement released by the Maryland Jockey Club. “I just went in there checking on him and he was biting me and pushing me around. He licked the bottom of his feed tub clean, so he ready to go. ... I think he enjoyed the couple days of relaxation. I probably don’t realize how big of a zoo it is going to be up there in New York. I have never gone through anything like this.”

Bred for just $10,000, California Chrome has captivated horse racing fans as much for his modest origin as his performance in Baltimore and Louisville. The chestnut colt is the first horse since I'll Have Another in 2012 to win the first two Triple Crown races.

California Chrome left Pimlico Race Course for New York after 6 a.m. on Tuesday, along with Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin. Social Inclusion, the only remaining Preakness runner left at Pimlico, is expected to depart on Sunday.

apyles@baltsun.com

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