In one of the most dominant performances of the last decade, betting favorite California Chrome and veteran jockey Victor Espinoza stole the show at Churchill Downs by winning the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
After claiming victory in each of the four previous races coming into the Derby and winning easily on Saturday, the focus for most horse racing fans has shifted to the Preakness Stakes and California Chrome’s quest for the Triple Crown.
Here are the purse for the winner, the pedigree info and a focus on California Chrome and his jockey Victor Espinoza.
|First||California Chrome||Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin||Art Sherman||Victor Espinoza||$1,442,800|
Breaking Down California Chrome and Victor Espinoza
The victory on Saturday doesn’t come as much of a shock to horse racing fans, but the way he dominated the field is further proof that this is a horse who will be a viable challenger when it comes to both the second and third legs of the Triple Crown.
After dominating at Churchill Downs, California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza will be looking to win at both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winners since 1978 (Affirmed).
The Kentucky Derby’s official Twitter account shared trainer Art Sherman’s reaction to California Chrome’s victory on Saturday:
Art Sherman on California Chrome: “He gave me the biggest thrill I ever had in my life.” #KyDerby— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 3, 2014
ESPN’s stat department came up with some interesting notes on the victory as well:
It's only the 2nd time since 1980 a morning-line favorite at 5-2 or shorter went on to win the Kentucky Derby (2002 - Fusaichi Pegasus).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 3, 2014
Trainer Art Sherman is the oldest Derby-winning trainer ever (77 years old).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 3, 2014
Unlike many of the other Kentucky Derby winners, California Chrome’s journey to the victory at Churchill Downs was not glamorous.
The horse’s owners, Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, had low expectations when they “bred an $8,000 mare to a $2,500 stallion,” according to Beth Harris of The Associated Press (via ABC News), but the results are undeniable.
Will California Chrome win the Triple Crown?
No one expected the combination of mare Love the Chase and stallion Lucky Pulpit to produce the 2014 Kentucky Derby winner, but Martin and Coburn surrounded the horse with a trainer like Art Sherman, and the rest is history.
Now the team looks toward the rest of the Triple Crown.
With Espinoza riding California Chrome in each of the last five races, the duo remains unbeaten since joining forces. Not only did the tandem win the Kentucky Derby, but it also won the Santa Anita Derby, San Felipe Stakes, California Cup Derby and King Glorious Stakes.
Momentum is squarely on the shoulders of California Chrome and his team.
Triple Crown Prediction: Win at Preakness Stakes and Win at Belmont Stakes
*Stats via HorseRacingNation.com.