California Chrome Claims Kentucky Derby Victory
Trainers from all over the United States enter their horses with a view to winning and moving on to compete in the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, with the ultimate goal of claiming the prestigious Triple Crown title
As the first leg of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, more commonly referred to simply as the 'Triple Crown', the Kentucky Derby is a highly competitive and exciting event.Also referred to as the 'Run for the Roses', a reference to the blanket of roses traditionally draped over the winner, the Kentucky Derby has been run every year since 1875 - and has often produced some interesting results. This year's Kentucky Derby will certainly go down in history as being remarkable, with California Chrome thundering to victory one and a quarter lengths ahead of second place winner Commanding Curve.
What makes this victory interesting is the story behind California Chrome. Owned by DAP Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, who reportedly named their syndicate for ownership of California Chrome as DAP – Dumb-Ass Partners – apparently the opinion some had of them when they decided to breed from Love the Chase, California Chrome is trained by Art Sherman, a 77-year old veteran of horseracing. Sherman started off as a jockey, later becoming a trainer with his horses clocking up more than 2,100 wins, but this was the first time Sherman had an entrant in the Kentucky Derby. Jockey Victor Espinoza is one of the country's top jockeys, and has formed a special bond with California Chrome, no doubt contributing to the horse's amazing performance.
Foaled at Harris Farms in Coalinga, California, on February 18, 2011, California Chrome was sired by Lucky Pulpit, son of Pulpit, out of Love the Chase. He is the fourth California-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby in its long history, the other three being Morvich (1922), Swaps (1955) and Decidedly (1962). Although California Chrome had some success as a two-year-old in the 2013 season, he really blossomed when paired with Victor Espinoza for the King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood Park Racetrack on December 22 (incidently the last race before the track closed for good).
The California Cup Derby was California Chrome's first event of the 2014 season. With Espinoza as his jockey, California Chrome was a bit slow coming out of the gate, but won the race with a 5 ½ length lead. The Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 8, proved to be California Chrome's first graded stakes win – by 7 ½ lengths – earning him the opportunity to compete in the Kentucky Derby. On April 8, California Chrome won his first Grade I race, the Santa Anita Derby, crossing the finish line 5 ¼ lengths ahead of Hoppertunity. Horseracing enthusiasts will no doubt be watching California Chrome with great interest as the 2014 horseracing season progresses.