Saturday could see Orange County's greatest athlete ever crowned.
Of course, if California Chrome loses the final leg of the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes, the 3-year-old colt will still be considered a great horse, just not among the 11 greatest of the greatest ever like Triple Crown winners Assault (1946), Secretariat (1973) and Seattle Slew (1977).
Many have come close, but the last winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes was Affirmed way back in 1978. The first Triple Crown winner was Sir Barton–way, way back in 1919!
So, yeah, California Chrome, whose home stable is at Los Alamitos Race Course, is poised to make history Saturday in New York. With a win, and the following five reasons, a strong case can be made he's the greatest Orange County athlete of all time:
The nickname of his fans (Chromies) is way cooler than the nickname of Mike Trout's (Trouties).
4. Wetness Stakes
After games or workouts, most pro athletes shower in plush locker rooms. When trainers Art and Alan Sherman are done with Chromie, he makes do between two barns at Los Al.
3. Cookie Monster
Top-echelon players expect to be rewarded handsomely after major achievements (think: multi-million-dollar contracts or extensions). All Chromie will want are his beloved Mrs. Pastures horse cookies. ($12 for a 35-oz. jar.)
His owners never have to deal with Scott Boras*
*Owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn do have to deal with jockey Victor Espinoza's agent Brian Beach, however.
1. He's hung like a horse.