Watch California Chrome and The Belmont Stakes Saturday at 4:30p ET on NBC

Del Mar Excited for Triple Crown Prospect

California Chrome's jockey Victor Espinoza, who has raced at Del Mar the past 12 summers, is known to be "as competitive as a rider gets"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    All eyes will be on California Chrome this weekend at Belmont Stakes, vying for the first Triple Crown in 36 years. His jockey, Victor Espinoza, has clocked in over 3,000 career wins and calls Del Mar "home" for part of the year. NBC 7's Lauren Lee has more on the man trying to make history.

    All eyes will be on California Chrome this weekend at Belmont Stakes, vying for the first Triple Crown in 36 years.

    Jockey Victor Espinoza has clocked in over 3,000 career wins and hopes to take California Chrome to victory.

    Espinoza is a familiar face in the Del Mar racing scene. He has spent the last 12 summers racing at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

    Trainer: California Chrome Will Win Belmont

    [NATL] Trainer: California Chrome Will Win Belmont
    The trainer and co-owner of California Chrome have reunited with their horse at Belmont Park days before he attempts to win racing's first Triple Crown in 36 years.

    "Hes only about five foot one and about 110 pounds, but he is strong. Really, really strong, which is why he's terrific on a horse's back," said Mac McBride, director of media at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

    McBride said Espinoza owns a home in the Del Mar area and lives there from July through early September.

    "He likes being here. He likes the weather. He likes the beach. He likes being part of the whole summer environment at Del Mar," McBride said.

    California Chrome made it to the winner's circle at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. If he wins Belmont Stakes on Saturday, he will be the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

    "In the world of horse racing, it does not get any bigger. It’s the biggest prize of all of horse racing," McBride said.

    McBride said Espinoza is one of their regular veteran riders.

    "He's a funny guy. He likes to laugh, he likes to joke, and yet he’s fiercely competitive. Out on the race track, the jockeys make money if they win races. They need to win races. They need to be competitive to do that, and Victor is as competitive as a rider gets."

    Off the track, McBride said Espinoza loves going to the gym and even owns two gyms. He said Espinoza also enjoys watching cartoons like Tom and Jerry.

    There's a chance California Chrome will be racing this summer in Del Mar at the Pacific Classic. McBride said if he becomes a Triple Crown winner, this event could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars and fans from around the world.

    "It’ll be good for us. It'll be great for Del Mar. It'll be great for anyone involved in horse racing," he said.

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