ELMONT, N.Y. - Since 1978, Patrice Wolfson has felt like she has two names.
First is her legally registered name. The second--and perhaps most famous--"the owner of the last Triple Crown winner."
Even though she's loved the title bestowed upon her since jockey Steve Cauthen rode Affirmed to a Triple Crown win 36 years ago, Wolfson said Wednesday she's ready to pass it along to the owners of California Chrome.
After receiving a warm welcome and applause from the post-position draw crowd, Wolfson, who co-owned Affirmed with her late husband Louis Wolfson, said, "It's an incredible memory to have."
Now she's excited for California Chrome's bid for the Crown and was able to meet his owners and wish them well.
She said, "Having a horse like California Chrome is one of the best things to happen to the sport of racing. The owners are nice people and it's a great story to attract new fans."
She believes that the sport of horse racing changed several years after her horse won the Triple Crown in 1978.
"There are so many differences in today's racing programs, and the Triple Crown races are challenging," Wolfson said. "Perhaps horses were tougher back then they are now."
Since the last crowning, there have been a total of 11 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners who challenged for the Triple Crown but could not claim it.
Big Brown was the last contender in 2008, but the race proved too much for him and finished last.
Wolfson said, "I believe of all the contenders over the last several years California Chrome has the best chance of winning the third Triple Crown race. He has shown that he is a versatile horse and has a good temperament."
This Saturday California Chrome will break from the second post position with odds of 3/5, and will be facing some tough competition.
Wolfson said she hopes the crowd is cheering wildly for California Chrome and his connections during the race, just like they were for her, so many years ago.