Ben's Cat will attempt to become the seventh Maryland-bred to reach the $2 million earnings mark when the King Leatherbury homebred competes in the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur Invitational at Belmont Park next Saturday.
As Triple Crown contender California Chrome went about his daily routine Saturday in preparation for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, a sizable field was shaping up to challenge the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.
With the short-lived nasal strip controversy resolved and wins in two Triple Crown races on his resume, California Chrome left Pimlico Race Course shortly after 6 a.m. on Tuesday for Elmont, N.Y., where his connections plan to run the Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby champion in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.
California Chrome's trainer, Art Sherman, raised the rather startling possibility that his horse might not run in the Belmont Stakes because of New York rules barring a nasal adhesive strip the colt has used throughout his six-race winning streak.
Twelve years after missing out on the Triple Crown in the final leg, Victor Espinoza is getting an improbable second chance. His horse, War Emblem, stumbled early in the 2002 Belmont Stakes and was never able to recover position. After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, the horse finished eighth in the Belmont.
A second deluge in little more than two weeks is forecast to soak the region Friday, making for a miserable Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico Race Course – though officials are confident in a fast track for a sunny and cool Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
If there's a heaven for horses, then California Chrome's great-great-grandsire will be peering down at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday to see whether his progeny can do what he did 50 years ago: win the Preakness and, with it, the first two legs of racing's Triple Crown.
Coley Blind, of Monkton, has needed all the good luck he can get. In a racing office abuzz with activity, he is responsible for putting together the stakes races on Maryland's biggest race day of the year, including the biggest race of all — this Saturday's 140th Preakness Stakes, the second leg of racing's Triple Crown.
If the horse racing world needed a little more evidence heading into Preakness week that the erstwhile "Sport of Kings" has turned a corner in Maryland, consider this scene on a misty Friday morning at the idyllic Fair Hill Training Center outside Elkton.
A year ago, his horse, Golden Soul, finished second in the Kentucky Derby as a 34-1 underdog. On Saturday, the Kentucky-based trainer pulled off another second-place finish, this time with 38-1 underdog Commanding Curve.