If California Chrome wins the Belmont Saturday, his value could soar as a stud horse.
But experts say that even with a win, his value as a breeding horse will remain well below today's top earners. The reason: His mediocre genes.
A Thoroughbred's stud value is based mainly on his bloodline—and mainly from the sire, or paternal line.
Simply put, Chrome is not a member of horse royalty. His grandfather is the famous Throughbred Pulpit, but his father, Lucky Pulpit, is not as impressive.
Chrome may be a supreme racer. But in the highly traditional world of horse breeding, Chrome is seen as a genetic outlier— unlikely to produce a reliable line of lucrative racers.
"Chrome doesn't have sire power," said Thomas Clark, a respected bloodstock agent in Lexington, Kentucky. "He's not sired by a top commercial stallion. That's an important factor that he's missing."