ARCADIA — Eddie Espinoza will be cheering a little louder than anyone else for California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes.
If the colt becomes the first horse to sweep the Triple Crown in 36 years, Espinoza will win $1 million.
The 71-year-old racing fan from Whittier, California is in line for the big payout as part of a contest staged by Santa Anita. Espinoza was randomly selected on April 5 to participate. That day he placed a $5,000 win bet — funded by the track — on California Chrome, who won the Santa Anita Derby. Espinoza collected $8,000: the initial wager plus the payout.
On May 3, Espinoza bet $7,500, again paid for by the track, on California Chrome to win the Kentucky Derby. The colt did and Espinoza earned $26,000.
He used $10,000 provided by Santa Anita to wager on the Preakness, which Espinoza and his wife attended as part of the contest. California Chrome won again, allowing Espinoza to cash for $15,000, earning a total of $49,000 on the three races.
Espinoza plans to watch the Belmont on June 7 at Santa Anita.