A.J. Foyt, who's not only a five-time Indianapolis 500 winner (four as a driver) but a keen judge of thoroughbreds, says he likes California Chrome’s chances of winning the Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
The 3-yer-old has shown to be a superior horse against ordinary competitors in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but the 1.5-mile distance on the track in Belmont, N.Y., is the biggest variable.
“He’s no Secretariat. I don’t know if he can go that far,” said Foyt, who owns a trio of 2-year-olds starting to be trained at Churchill Downs. “A mile and a half is a long way and the way it’s set up (two weeks between the Derby and Preakness Stakes and then three weeks until the Belmont Stakes) knocks a horse down. That’s the reason why you didn’t see a lot of them (continue) at the Preakness.”
Since ’78, 12 horses have entered the third leg of the Triple Crown with the same goal. California Chrome is even-money early this week for the Belmont, which will be televised on NBC two hours before the green flag for the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on NBCSN.
Foyt, who says he doesn’t wager (“I only like to bet a little on my own horses and I lose a lot”), would be happy for owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn “because they turned down a lot of money before they ran the Derby and took a big gamble. I hope they do it but they have their work cut out.”
Here’s a little-known factoid: Foyt held the record of 27 victories by horses he owned in 1984 during the 93-day Spring/Summer meet at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., until 2013 (32 victories over 38 days by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who own Ramsey Farm in Kentucky).
Foyt’s best shot at a victory in the Kentucky Derby was his horse "Rare Brick," who passed away in December at age 30. Unbeaten in eight races, the stallion, who had been favored to win the 1986 Arkansas Derby (the prelim for the Kentucky Derby), had to be pulled from the competition 10 days earlier because of an ankle injury. He was ridden by Mike Smith and Pat Day. Rare Brick sired 27 stakes winners.
Chevrolet docked 20 points
INDYCAR announced that it has rescinded penalties issued against Chevrolet for violation of Verizon IndyCar Series engine regulations 11.2 (Torque Control) and 12.1 (Traction Control). The engine manufacturer will be assessed a deduction of 10 manufacturer points for an unintentional technical violation.
The resolution follows INDYCAR's review of the May 12 penalties under INDYCAR's review process that was introduced for the 2014 season as defined in the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.
INDYCAR also announced that Chevrolet has been penalized 10 Engine Manufacturer Championship points per Verizon IndyCar Series rules for violation of Rule 16.5.1 (engine change under mileage). The Chevrolet engine was changed out in the No. 2 Penske Motorsports entry.
Members may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.
The helmet autographed by Foyt and driver Takuma Sato, which he wore in the Indianapolis 500, is being auctioned at http://www.501auctions.com/takumasato
. Proceeds will benefit With you Japan, the charity Sato founded to aid the victims of the 2011 tsunami. The auction closes June 9 at 10:59:59 a.m. (ET).