California Chrome fever grips Yuba City

YUBA CITY, Calif. - The Triple Crown is closer to becoming reality for a California bred horse.

Horse racing's most prestigious prize is now within reach of California Chrome after Saturday's win at the Preakness Stakes.

But there may be a complication. The colt's trainer has hinted the horse may not run the Belmont stakes because of the nasal strips the horse wore while winning his last six races.

In previous Belmont Stakes races, horses have not been allowed to wear those strips. Race officials say California Chrome's trainer has not asked to use the strips.

Still, Chrome fever is spreading throughout California, especially in Yuba City, which is being thrown into the national spotlight in time with the colt's success..

California Chrome could be the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978. Only 11 other horses have ever done so.

"We all feel connected to this horse," said Kash Gill, mayor of Yuba City.

The ag-based city has become the epicenter for celebration because the co-owners of the horse live there. "This will be the place. We will have the street shut down," said Darin Gale, economic development director for the city.

City leaders plan to go all out in preparation for the Belmont Stakes. Downtown's Plumas Street will be closed on race day for a public viewing of the race.

"All the businesses here will see a significant boom and our businesses are starting to get some notoriety from it," Gale said.

'Chrome Fever' is also catching on in Sacramento. A chrome horse statue outside the Safeway on 19th and S in Midtown was glammed up with roses in honor of California Chrome.

"If it wins, it's going to be nuts around here. It's going to be really great. We're hoping but we still have our fingers crossed," said Greg Popejoy of Sacramento. "It might be a little premature with the roses but it's a nice thought."

For many, the celebrations are on hold until the final stretch of the last Triple Crown race.

If California Chrome brings home the Triple Crown, Yuba City will hold a parade to celebrate.

But city officials say win or lose, the horse will remain the pride of the town.

The Belmont Stakes will take place on June 7th in Belmont Park, New York.


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