California Chrome is by far the best three-year-old in the country, but I’m not picking him to make history. The demands of the Triple Crown five-week series and a field full of fresh legs will be too much for him.
Chrome had the perfect set-up in the first two jewel races. That won’t happen today. His biggest problem came when speedball Social Inclusion opted out of today’s race. Chrome had a target in front of him for the Derby and Preakness. Now he will be the hunted and not the huntsman, an unfamiliar position.
I don’t think Chrome is only a front-runner, but I do feel he’s more comfortable sitting off the pace than setting it.
The longer track and the sand-like dirt surface could make it difficult for jockey Victor Espinoza to negotiate as things unfold for the long stretch run.
There will be some major threats coming after him, especially if the go button is pushed too early.
If Chrome is going to lose, it’ll be because a late closer catches him near the wire. And if he is going to win, he will have to earn it.