Make it five in a row for California Chrome.
The race favorite didn't disappoint, running away from the pack in the final stretch and holding off the late push of Commanding Curve to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs. While the victory wasn't as dominant as his previous performances—including that now-famous Santa Anita Derby run—it was still a pretty comfortable victory.
And five straight wins, at that.
Commanding Curve finished second, while Danza's charging run down the stretch left him in third. According to the Associated Press, via ESPN, California Chrome finished with a time of two minutes and 3.66 seconds. Here's how the entire field finished:
|1||5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||-|
|2||17||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||1 3/4|
|3||4||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||3|
|4||20||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||Jimmy Jerkens||5 3/4|
|5||6||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||5 3/4|
|6||12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||6 1/4|
|7||19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel||Billy Gowan||6 3/4|
|8||14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||7 1/2|
|9||13||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||8|
|10||7||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||8 1/4|
|11||8||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||8 1/4|
|12||16||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||9|
|13||18||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||11 3/4|
|14||3||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||15|
|15||15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||16 1/4|
|16||2||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||22 1/2|
|17||9||Vinceremos||Joe Rococo Jr.||Todd Pletcher||28|
|18||10||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||28 1/4|
|19||1||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||38 1/4|
|11||Hoppertunity||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||SCR|
via NBC broadcast
And here are the purse payouts:
|1||California Chrome||Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin||$1,417,800|
|2||Commanding Curve||West Point Thoroughbreds||$400,000|
|3||Danza||Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners||$200,000|
|4||Wicked Strong||Centennial Farms||$100,000|
|5||Samraat||My Meadowview Farm||$60,000|
Finally, here are the betting payouts, via Covers.com:
Here is the payout table for the 140th Kentucky Derby pic.twitter.com/5ocFqBqqu7— Covers.com (@Covers) May 3, 2014
And in case you missed the race, you're in luck, as you can see California Chrome dominate below:
What a story California Chrome is. His mother, Love the Chase, was purchased for $8,000 and was bred with Lucky Pulpit for $2,000. The resulting foal was California Chrome, who Saturday alone earned $1,417,800.
Also consider the following, from Darren Rovell of ESPN:
California Chrome's owners reportedly turned down an offer to sell 51% of the horse for $6M. Joked valuation was closer to $100M.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) May 4, 2014
Given how popular California Chrome is going to be as a sire once he retires, he'll be worth much, much more than that.
And he certainly gave his trainer a moment to treasure, via the Kentucky Derby's official Twitter account:
Art Sherman on California Chrome: “He gave me the biggest thrill I ever had in my life.” #KyDerby— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 3, 2014
So now all of the focus turns to the Preakness Stakes, where California Chrome's speed should play very well on the shorter track. If California Chrome was going to struggle in a Triple Crown race, it would probably be the longer Belmont Stakes, though part of CC's allure is his versatility.
One would guess Hoppertunity would run in Baltimore and be one of the major challengers to the Derby champion. Hoppertunity was considered one of the primary contenders for the Kentucky Derby before being withdrawn.
It's possible that this year's Kentucky Oaks winner, Untapable, could also be unleashed for the Preakness. Now that would be a fun matchup, though it's probably an unlikely one.
If Danza runs at Pimlico, he'd certainly be a threat, as would Samraat. Both horses have dangerous speed and could give California Chrome a run for his money.
Even if the smart money remains on the Kentucky Derby winner.