action:article | category:SPORTS08 | adString:SPORTS08 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Horse Racing

May 03. 2014 9:26PM

Kentucky Derby: California Chrome a Golden State warrior

California Chrome jockey Victor Espinoza (5) celebrates winning the 2014 Kentucky Derby. (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

California Chrome won the 140th Kentucky Derby in brilliant fashion at a bright and sunny Churchill Downs on Saturday, adding another fairytale chapter to America's most famous and revered horse race.

Perfectly ridden by Victor Espinoza, the three-year-old colt pinned back his ears and sprinted clear of his rivals to win the $2.2 million classic by one and a quarter lengths.

Commanding Curve, one of the longshots in the 19-horse field, charged home late to finish second while Danza battled on for third but no one came close to catching the winner.

Unbeaten in four starts this season, California Chrome started as the 5-2 favorite after romping to victories in each of his four previous races, including last month's Santa Anita Derby, that was one of the key lead-up events to the Run for the Roses.

And he lived up to all expectations with a breathtaking display of acceleration, breaking nicely from the barrier and sitting third until the field turned for home.

As they made their way around the bend, California Chrome made his move, bursting into the lead before the shadows of the iconic twin spires as the crowd of almost 165,000 let out a mighty roar.

His 77-year-old trainer Art Sherman became the oldest man to train the winner of the Kentucky Derby. Sherman had never even had a runner in the Derby before but was an exercise rider for Swaps when he won the race in 1955.

"Words can't describe how I feel right now," Sherman said at the victory presentation. "This means a whole lot to me."For the Mexican-born Espinoza, it was his second win in the Derby after he saluted on War Emblem in 2002. The 41-year-old showed his experience with a calculated ride, keeping his mount out of harm's way before unleashing him in the stretch.

"I really don't mess with him too much," Espinoza said. "I just let him enjoy himself around the race track and stretch his legs."

California Chrome became just the fourth horse from the Golden State to win the Derby, with a classic rags to riches tale that has endeared him to the American racing public.

He was bred for just $10,000, a pittance in a sport where regally-bred horses change hands for millions of dollars, by two men who were new to the race game but took a gamble on a mare that no one else wanted and got a foal of extraordinary talent.

And the dream may not be over yet with co-owner Steve Coburn immediately declaring California Chrome would go for the Triple Crown, the holy grail of U.S. racing.

"I think we're in a pretty good place now," Coburn said. "Our guardian angels have been pretty good to us."

 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

Maine boxer Brandon Berry making Fight to Educate history

Hudson family, classmates working to keep Alvirne soccer standout Raul Stedile in U.S.

Israel unrest moves meet for NH swim star

Race date for Oxford 250 moved from July to Aug. 30 next year

NH's Groff a highlight for U.S. at ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final

Maine fighters Lamour, Berry on New Hampshire boxing card

Q&A with Matt Bonner as he weighs free agency

Keene State mum on suspension of veteran track coach

Morgan Andrews speaks: Notre Dame star undeterred by U.S. U-20 World Cup snub

Mo'ne Davis, and why no one should laugh at the idea of a woman in Major League Baseball

Curt Schilling says smokeless tobacco caused oral cancer


 New Hampshire Events Calendar


Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory