Horse racing hero California Chrome added to his legendary status on November 29 with another impressive grade 1 win. What makes his latest triumph even more noteworthy is the fact the Hollywood Derby was contested on turf, a surface this 3-year old son of Lucky Pulpit had never run on before.
Bursting from the Del Mar starting gates, Chrome immediately rolled to the front in the opening furlong before settling in second behind Sawyer’s Hill as the runners made their way onto the backstretch. As they moved around the far turn, California Chrome began to unleash the powerful turn of foot that had propelled him to six consecutive wins including the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Running like school was out under jockey Victor Espinoza, Chrome cruised to the lead and left five others in his wake. Covering the mile and an eighth distance in 1:47.88, California Chrome glided over the Jimmy Durante turf course with ease and won by an easy two lengths. The $180,000 first place money bumped Chrome’s career earnings to $4,222,650 and it was his ninth win in sixteen career starts.
“Chrome came out of the race in fantastic shape,” says co-owner Steve Coburn. “He is so full of himself he probably could run it again right now. We are very proud of him and hope he will get some of the recognition he deserves.”
As for the recognition, California Chrome is a strong candidate in two categories in the year end awards that are handed out in January. Now having won on three different surfaces (synthetic, dirt, grass), Chrome has lived up to age-old adage that really great horses can win anywhere no matter what the conditions. California Chrome is also nominated for the Vox Populi Award given by Secretariat owner Penny Chenery. The Vox Populi, or voice of the people, is awarded based on a fan vote and is designed to recognize the Thoroughbred that has impacted and brought recognition to the sport. Votes can be cast at secretariat.com and the balloting will run through December 17.