Sometimes, a horse lives up to the hype. And boy, did California Chrome live up to the hype, winning the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
The prohibitive favorite ran the perfect race, stalking just behind the lead pack before the final straightaway, when he exploded and left the rest of the horses in the dust. Commanding Curve came on strong late, and Danza furiously tried to get back into the fray, but California Chrome was simply too much horse on this day.
Here are the purse payouts:
|Kentucky Derby Payouts|
|1||California Chrome||Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin||Art Sherman||Victor Espinoza||$1,417,800|
|2||Commanding Curve||West Point Thoroughbreds||Dallas Stewart||Shaun Bridgmohan||$400,000|
|3||Danza||Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners||Todd Pletcher||Joe Bravo||$200,000|
|4||Wicked Strong||Centennial Farms||James A. Jerkens||Rajiv Maragh||$100,000|
|5||Samraat||My Meadowview Farm||Rick Violette Jr.||Jose Ortiz||$60,000|
And here are the betting payouts, via Covers.com:
When looking at those payouts, keep in mind that California Chrome's mother, Love The Chase, was purchased for $8,000. She was bred with Lucky Pulpit for $2,000. The resulting foal was California Chrome, who could aptly be renamed Amazing Return On Investment.
This performance is going to excite the entire horse racing world. Perhaps NBC Sports' Joe Posnanski said it best:
California Chrome has the look of a horse that could pull off the feat. He's versatile and more athletic than the field and just dominated the Kentucky Derby. So yes, the Triple Crown buzz will begin.
Just look for yourself.
Barring an injury, it would be surprising if he didn't win the Preakness. Of course, Hoppertunity should be ready to go by then and was considered to be one of California Chrome's primary challengers in this race, so that horse could throw a wrench into all this Triple Crown talk.
And much will depend on which horses appear in the race. California Chrome could be looking at a much easier field, or the field could be stacked. A lot will be learned before we even head to Baltimore.
There's just something about this horse, folks. Despite being such a heavy favorite—on Saturday, he was coming in as a 2-1 favorite at one point—he still managed to defy the odds, as ESPN Stats and Info passed along:
After, trainer Art Sherman tried to sum up the victory, via America's Best Racing on Twitter:
That pretty much says it all.