He's done it again.
California Chrome became just the 13th horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown since 1978, hanging on to a hard-fought lead to take the 139th Preakness Stakes victory.
With a prior Kentucky Derby victory and tonight's Preakness win, California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza look toward the mile-and-a-half at Belmont, the third and final "jewel" in the Triple Crown, which races on June 7.
"I hope okay," Espinoza said after tonight's race in regard to how he and the horse will handle Belmont. "You know what, we get it done."
Espinoza and California Chrome certainly got it done in Baltimore. Unlike at the Kentucky Derby, the pair pushed ahead of the pack immediately, tucking in with the leaders, only to be contested several times. As they tried to pull away on the final turn, Espinoza pushed his horse forward, too.
"I got more tired mentally than physically riding him," Espinoza said. "I sat back and…it worked out perfect. I thought it was a little too soon (to go), but you know what, I thought I had to go at that point."
This was 77-year-old trainer Art Sherman's first trip to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Sherman, along with owner Steve Coburn, are guiding a horse bred for just $10,000 toward a legendary season.
But remember: The best moments generally take place outside of the two minutes the horses race for glory. The Preakness was no different, with Mike Tyson tweeting out this bizarrely mashed-up photograph of him, along with an assortment of other big names in sports (that's Tom Brady to Tyson's left, and Kliff Kingsbury is the one peeking through the back). Oh, Maryland. --Sarah Eberspacher
— NBC Sports Network (@NBCSN) May 17, 2014
Seth Meyers checks in on 'pharma bro' Martin Shkreli, finds he's just the tip of a price-gouging iceberg
Martin Shkreli, the widely despised former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, infamous for raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, was called to testify before Congress last week. But instead of answering questions, Seth Meyers said on Tuesday's Late Night, "he spent the time doing what he does best: looking like a real slappable prick." Meyers illustrated his point with some footage of Shkreli invoking his Fifth Amendment right instead of answering even the most mundane questions.
As fun as it is to make fun of Shkreli, though, he's "not alone," Meyers said. "He's just doing what a lot of pharmaceutical companies already do, except he's being loud and conniving about it while they're being secretive and conniving about it." In fact, Shkreli is "just a convenient, deserving scapegoat" for the price-gouging of Americans by the drug industry, Meyers said, aided by Congress' decision to prevent the U.S. government from negotiating the price of drugs, like almost every other country does. Case in point, a company called Valeant bought two heart drug just last year and immediately raised the price 525 percent and 212 percent, Meyers said, but "Valeant didn't cause nearly as much outrage as Shkreli did because they don't have a smug, irritating face; they have a soothing logo." Watch Meyers' "closer look" at Shkreli and the unsavory behavior he exposed below. Peter Weber
It was just his second time outside, but Bei Bei was ready for an adventure. On Monday, the panda cub born last summer at the Smithsonian's National Zoo climbed a tree for the first time, but was hesitant when it came time to climb back down. Luckily, his doting mother, Mei Xiang, was there to gently give him some assistance. Watch the sweet video below. Catherine Garcia
Jim Gilmore has a theory as to why he's virtually unknown among the Republican presidential candidates.
"I entered the race having been out of office for a considerable amount of time," he told USA Today. "I wasn't a sitting governor, my father wasn't president, and my brother wasn't president." Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia, was upbeat at his primary party in New Hampshire on Tuesday, attended by less than a dozen people. "I don't think we'll win this thing," he told one supporter, "but let's see if we can get some recognition."
With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Gilmore received 125 votes, or 0.0 percent. It was, however, a major victory compared to how he did in Iowa, where he was backed by just 12 caucusgoers, and Gilmore said he's looking forward to campaigning in South Carolina on Wednesday. New Hampshire state senator Sam Cataldo told USA Today Gilmore has a "hell of a background," but is practically invsible because "the media keeps playing Trump, Trump, and Trump. There's more to life than just Trump." Catherine Garcia
On Monday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed that he's considering an independent run for president this year, telling the Financial Times that he finds "the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters." He'll decide soon, he said, and is "listening to what candidates are saying and what the primary voters appear to be doing." That's widely considered code for Bloomberg waiting to see if Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are likely to win the Republican and Democratic nominations, respectively.
Both Trump and Sanders notched solid victories in New Hampshire on Tuesday night. And a potential Trump-Sanders race is "a dream scenario for those — most notably Bloomberg himself — who dream of a real chance for the former mayor," says Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post. "I wouldn't fall down dead if later this week 'a Bloomberg insider' leaked either polling numbers or some sort of internal memo designed to stoke the fires for the former mayor’s independent bid." Since a Bloomberg run would probably ensure a Republican win in 2016, maybe this should be scored as two wins for Trump. Peter Weber
Both CNN and The New York Times have called Donald Trump the winner of the New Hampshire primary, where he holds 35.1 percent of the vote with 88 percent of precincts reporting. Giving his first victory speech of the election, Trump vowed "to make America so great again. Maybe greater than ever before."
A number of news organizations have called John Kasich the second place winner with 15.9 percent. Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio are locked in a battle for third place, virtually tied between 11 and 10 percent. Jeva Lange
FBI director James B. Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that bureau technicians have been unable to unlock encrypted data on a cellphone that belonged to Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 2.
The locked data could help explain why the shooters left a bag with pipe bombs inside the conference room at the Inland Regional Center, whether they planned any additional attacks, or if anyone else knew about their plan beforehand, the Los Angeles Times reports. Comey said that encrypted cellphones and text messaging apps make it difficult for investigators to trace locations or track active plots after they have a suspect's phone. Encryption algorithms scramble the data once a PIN code is set, and many companies say they don't have the capability to unscramble the memory, arguing such capacity would weaken security and privacy, the Times says.
The FBI did not disclose the model of the phone, nor if it belonged to Malik or Farook. The bureau also says there is no evidence that the married couple had any outside help or instructions on how to carry out the attack. Farook became self-radicalized, and the pair pledged allegiance to ISIS the day of the shooting. Catherine Garcia