YUBA CITY, Calif. - On Saturday, California Chrome will run in the Belmont Stakes and could become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.
Excitement for the race is building in Yuba City, the hometown of the horse's co-owners, Perry and Denise Martin. The town, 50 miles south of Chico, is planning a huge downtown viewing party for Saturday's big race.
Yuba City residents who never watched horsing racing before, will be watching the Belmont.
On Saturday at 10 a.m. Plumas Street in downtown Yuba City will be closed to traffic. Two large monitors will be set up to allow people to gather and watch the Belmont. City officials expect a crowd of about 15,000 people to gather for the viewing party.
Business owners like Cashalyn Gillis are adorning their storefronts with purple and green, the colors worn by California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza.
"We want to support this horse," said Gillia. "It's a great story in the making, and we want to be a part of it."
Yuba City already prides itself on its vibrant downtown. Mayor Kash Gill said California Chrome could mean big business beyond Saturday.
"Our goal is to not only woo them to see the race, but to shop locally and visit some of these stores that have been here for a long time," said Gill.
California Chrome is a heavy favorite to win the Belmont Stakes and capture horse racing's Triple Crown. He would be the first horse since 1978 to win it.
In Yuba City, the Triple Crown viewing party will start at noon on Plumas Street. There will be two big screens, one near Church Street and the other near Center Street.
There also will be a viewing party in Chico at Horse Store and More, located at 2827 Esplanade. The race starts just after 3 p.m.
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