California Chrome won the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on May 3, 2014. The first jewel in the Triple Crown of horse racing was televised on NBC and NBC Sports, which will also be covering this season's Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
In a field of elite Kentucky horses with fine pedigrees and famous trainers, California Chrome, who came from humble origins, captured the fancy of the everyday man and woman. His victory at the 140th Kentucky Derby was cheered by people who loved the proof that anything is possible.
It is not that his victory was a surprise, California Chrome was the favorite to win with odds placed at 2 to 1. There were, however, naysayers who thought the California bred thoroughbred had no right to race among the Kentucky elite, such as Dale Romans, co-owner of rival Medal Count, as seen in Times Union, who later regretted his words, admitting that he may be a super horse.
California Chrome is owned by a group called DAP Racing, which stands for Dumb Ass Partners, a name crafted in response to doubters by working guy co-owners Steve Coburn. and Perry Martin. The partners purchased a filly that no one seemed to want for $8,000 and bred her with a stallion for $2,500. The colt, California Chrome, was born to sire Lucky Pulpit out of the mare Love the Chase.
As California Chrome gained a record of winning, DAP Racing, whose silks display a donkey, was offered over six million dollars for a 51% partnership in the colt. They turned down the offer, stating that the racehorse was their dream, according to a statement during the NBC Sports coverage on television.
California Chrome's victory was a great birthday present for Coburn, who turned 61 on Saturday. "This is just a dream come true and a great birthday present," said Coburn.
Trainer Art Sherman, 77, made a record as the oldest trainer to win the Derby. His previous touch wth Derby greatness was 59 years ago, as an exercise rider for Derby winner Swaps. All smiles after the race, Sherman said, "He gave me the biggest thrill I ever had in my life." Sherman said he had visited Swaps' Derby grave and said a prayer before the race.
California Chrome was ridden by jockey Victor Espinoza, who said, "This horse has so much talent. By the three-eighths pole I knew that was it. I could see other horses struggling a little bit, and he was just smooth."
The second place horse, Commanding Curve, was a longshot, with odds at 37 to1. Danza, named for actor Tony Danza, came in third. Wicked Strong was fourth and Samraat finished fifth, followed by Dance With Fate, Ride On Curlin, Medal Count, Chitu, We Miss Artie, General a Rod, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, Uncle Sigh, Tapiture, Harry's Holiday, Vinceremos, and Wildcat Red. Vicar's In Trouble finished last.