updated 06/07/2014 AT 11:45 AM ET
•originally published 06/06/2014 AT 10:30 AM ET
California Chrome is one horse on a hot streak! With the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes behind him, the 3-year-old thoroughbred is just one race away – the Belmont Stakes on Saturday – from becoming the 12th Triple Crown champion, a title that hasn’t been given since 1978.
Named for the “chrome” white marks on his hair, he has the potential to be the first California-bred horse to take home the title.
I really feel better about this race than any other race, his trainer Art Sherman told the New York Times about the Belmont Stakes. I think he is a tough horse.
Currently on a six-race winning streak (odds makers have him at a 3-5 favorite), the anticipation couldn’t be higher as he prepares to face off against his 10 rivals including Wicked Strong, Tonalist, Ride on Curlin and General a Rod. But it takes more than just a great name to win this championship. Here’s a look at the past winners who’ve taken home the Triple Crown.
Date: June 11, 1978
The Florida-bred horse is currently the last horse to win the Triple Crown. He is rumored to have been named after the federal securities law violations conviction of Louis E. Wolfson (who’s farm he was bred on) was “affirmed” on appeal.
Unbeaten Seattle Slew
Date: June 12, 1977
He is still the only horse to win the Triple Crown while undefeated. His son, A.P. Indy and granddaughter, Rags to Riches, also won the Belmont Stakes.
Date: June 10, 1973
A legend in racing for setting records at all three Triple Crown races and winning the final race, the Belmont Stakes, by 31 lengths.
Date: June 13, 1948
Bred in Kentucky, this stallion was the first horse to win $1 million.
Date: June 2, 1946
The only Texas-bred Triple Crown winner was dubbed the “Club-footed Comet” for his limp (which disappeared when in full stride) and deformed hoof after injuring it on a stake.
Date: June 6, 1943
He was owned by the Hertz family (as in the rental car company) and his offspring include 38 stakes winners.
Date: June 8, 1941
His trainer reportedly called him the “dumbest horse I ever trained.” He got scared easily and had a tendency to drift towards the middle of the track and wore a right-eye cup to make his field of vision smaller to reduce drifting.
Date: June 6, 1937
He took home the Triple Crown championship despite a torn heel and is the uncle of Seabiscuit, (whose underdog story was made into a film with Tobey Maguire and nominated for an Oscar), who he raced once and lost to.
Date: June 9, 1935
The Kentucky-bred stallion won the Triple Crown by racing on a rain-soaked and slippery track at the Belmont Stakes.
Date: June 8, 1930
He was a bay-colored stallion from Kentucky who sired the next Triple Crown winner, Omaha.
Date: June 12, 1919
He was the first Triple Crown winner in history and became a working horse after retirement for the U.S. Army Remount Service in Nebraska.