Two hours before
Alan Sherman, the assistant trainer and de facto spokesman, cracked open a can of beer as he stood outside for a brief interview.
California Chrome is a 4-5 favorite in the
A television crew's request to sneak in a quick shot of California Chrome in the barn was rebuffed. Not this close to the race, they were told.
The preparations were finished, the long days of hype almost over.
Warm wind brought the faint smell of hay and, for a few seconds, the far-off sound of cheers from Belmont Park's grandstands. But the real noise waited for the horse in the barn, the reason the tens of thousands of spectators wore purple, one of the horse's racing colors, or anything that resembled chrome.
The barn's green door was rolled shut. Security guards toting bored looks paced around. An empty stroller and half-dozen metal barricades rested outside.