Several thousand “Chromies” were saddened to see the hometown favorite, California Chrome, finish out of the money in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, and fail to be the first horse to pull off a Triple Crown triumph since Affirmed did it in 1978.
California Chrome — a California-bred colt with a modest pedigree — was the overwhelming favorite at Belmont after his wins in the Santa Anita Derby and the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
Trainer Art Sherman is based at the Los Alamitos Race Course, near Long Beach.
“We’re so sad. I can’t believe it. It’s just too bad,” lamented Jolynn Martin. The fan, who lives near the Santa Anita track, was wearing Chrome’s colors, green and purple.
“Our industry needed a shot in the arm,” she said, gesturing to the grandstand. “We would have never had this crowd.”
Tonalist won the race, a head in front of Commissioner and a head in front of Medal Count. Californmia Chrome was originally called the fifth-place horse, but stewards later called her in a heat for fourth with Wickedstrong, both 1-3/4 heads back.
“Go Chromie” was the chant by several thousand fans in the grandstands and in the betting lounges at Los Alamitos, which was calling itself the California Chrome Zone.
A glum Patty Smith of Culver City said she has “been around too long, and I wanted the 36-year streak to be broken so I’m sad, very sad.”
Danielle Jones of San Diego summarized the feelings of many fans, and said “we look forward to going see him at Del Mar” where he may race later this summer.
More money was bet on California Chrome than any horse in U.S. history, according to bookmakers.
— City News Service