Monday 9 December 2019

California Chrome is a fairytale winner of the Kentucky Derby

Trainer Art Sherman secured his place in the record books as he sent out California Chrome to land the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday night.

Sherman became the oldest trainer in the history of the race at the age of 77, surpassing 76-year-old Charlie Whittingham who saddled Sunday Silence to win back in 1989.

California Chrome was sent off favourite for the 10-furlong Classic after notching up four wins on the bounce, including the Santa Anita Derby on his latest outing.

Partnered by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome settled off a steady early pace before he swooped through to lead with two furlongs to run.

Commanding Curve tried to reel him back in in the closing stages but California Chrome was much too good and held him by a length and three-quarters with Danza a further length and a quarter back in third.

Sherman said: "He was in the perfect spot. I was thinking, 'cool it, Victor'. Then I just hoped he had something left. When he sprinted away, I said, 'let me take over the last 70 yards'. "

The son of Lucky Pulpit is now set to head for second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 17, with a chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

Sherman told "You don't train every horse the same. He was coming back in a month from the Santa Anita Derby. The Triple Crown is the toughest series of races. Two weeks to the Preakness, a mile and a half in the Belmont. I wanted him to be fresh."

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