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Abby Hill | | June 7, 2014

Hill: Day at the races

  Churchill Downs hosted horse races all day leading up to the Belmont Stakes in New York.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Horse racing and college baseball are not things usually mentioned in the same breath.

Unless you are in Louisville, Kentucky.

While sitting in the world-famous infield at Churchill Downs you can see the lights from Louisville’s Jim Patterson Stadium. The two venues are less than a mile from each other.

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Abby Hill Louisville, Ky.
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And if California Chrome wins the Belmont Stakes on Saturday night and takes the elusive Triple Crown, college baseball and horse racing will have another thing in common.

This means the road to the Triple Crown, and the road to the College World Series will both have run through Louisville this season.

On May 2, California Chrome won the 140th Kentucky Derby held at Churchill Downs. And then on May 17, California Chrome claimed the Preakness.

A horse has not been able to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.

There have been 11 horses since 1978 with a chance to win the Triple Crown, none of which have been able to complete the task.

A few blocks away, Kennesaw State and Louisville are attempting to find similarly historic ends to their seasons.

Louisville will face Kennesaw State in Game 2 of the Louisville Super Regional on Saturday night. And regardless of which team wins, the road to Omaha will have gone through Louisville. With a win, Kennesaw State can keep their Cinderella season alive and keep the Cardinals at bay from their second consecutive CWS berth. 

On Saturday morning, I visited Churchill Downs for the first time.

The excitement and energy in the place blew me away.

Spectators arrived to the track at about 11 a.m. to watch a full day of racing before the Belmont Stakes.

Everyone I asked said they want California Chrome to win it all.

Long-time Churchill Downs employee Stephen Brake said, “Of course I want to see California Chrome win it. It’s a California horse, which doesn’t please me, but I would like to see a horse win the Triple Crown.”

Whether it’s on the diamond or the race track, whether the event begins with “Play ball” or "They're off," history will be made in Louisville on Saturday night.

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