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2016 Breeders' Cup Contenders

California Chrome

Trainer:   Art Sherman
Jockey:   Victor Espinoza
Owner:   California Chrome, LLC

Foaling Date:   2-18-2011
Pedigree:   Lucky Pulpit - Love the Chase by Not For Love
Dosage Profile:   7-5-10-0-0
Dosage Index / CD:   3.40   0.86  
2016 Record:   4 Starts: 4 - 0 - 0, $6,840,000 (as of 9/12/2016)
Best Beyer Figure:   113

Notes: As a two-year-old he mostly stayed in Cal-bred company with wins in the Graduation and King Glorious Stakes, but could only manage 6th place when against open Grade 1 company in the Del Mar Futurity. In 2014, he has stay undefeated so far. He won his debut in the California Cup Derby against Cal-breds, then graduated to open company winning the San Felipe (G2) and the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Was an easy winner as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. Not many showed up to challenge him in the Preakness Stakes and he won again. Unfortunately he did not live up to expectations in the Belmont Stakes and finished fourth behind Tonalist.  After a short rest, he race sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby, third in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), and won the Hollywood Derby (G1).

In 2015, he race second in the San Antonio (G2) and second again in the Dubai World Cup (G1), but was off the rest of the year.

In 2016, he won his debut in the San Pasqual Stakes (G2) then shipped to Dubai to win a handicap in prep for the Dubai World Cup which he also won. This win made him the current top money earning Thoroughbred of all time. He took 4 months off after shipping back to the US and won the San Diego Handicap (G2) for his next start, then on to win the Pacific Classic (G1) both at Del Mar. His next start, and likely final prep before the Breeders' Cup, was another win in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita.

Bio Info from his Triple Crown Run

California Chrome definitely lives up to his name, with four "chrome" white feet and California breeding, in fact he is inbred top and bottom to the great California-bred Swaps. His dam Love the Chase won just 1 of her 6 starts and earned just over $7000, while his sire, Lucky Pulpit, won about $210,000 in 22 starts including a stakes win in the Smile Stakes on the Arlington Park turf. He was raised from birth at Harris Farms, same as another famous California-bred, Tiznow. In his early years his owners (also breeders) called him Junior, and came up with the name California Chrome by writing several names down on pieces of paper and having the winning one drawn by a waitress at a restaurant.

Owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin:

California Chrome is owned by Perry and Denise Martin of Yuba City, CA, and Steve and Carolyn Coburn of Topaz Lake, NV. The pair purchased his dam, Love the Chase, in partnership when their previous ownership group, Blinkers On Racing Stable, was dissolved. Somebody called them "dumbasses" for investing their money in Love the Chase, so in retaliation, a caricature jackass with buck teeth appears on the back of their stable's racing silks, now famously worn by Victor Espinoza. The front of the silks and blinker hood have the letters DAP for "Dumb Ass Partners". Denise Martin and Carolyn Coburn chose the purple and green colors.

Perry Martin, a pedigree expert as well as owner of a product testing laboratory, chose Lucky Pulpit as a potential mating for their broodmare. He is the quieter of the two partners, and was not present at the Preakness after feeling snubbed by Churchill Downs at the Derby. Martin is credited with mapping out a plan to get his colt to the Derby, a plan executed to perfection by trainer Art Sherman and of course California Chrome. He kept the colt in Cal-bred stakes and then dropped him into open company in the San Felipe (G2).

In a story often repeated before and since the Kentucky Derby, Coburn dreamt that the colt would have four white feet and a blaze, and would win the Kentucky Derby. Coburn definitely loves the media attention and wears his heart on his sleeve, choking back tears after both the Derby and Preakness victories. The former cowboy works as a press operator.

Trainer Art Sherman:

Art Sherman was hired by the Dumb Ass Partners on the recommendation of his son Steve who trained horses for Perry Martin in northern California. Sherman, at the age of 18, was the exercise rider for Swaps, another California-bred to win the garland of roses. He became a jockey in 1957 and then switched to training in 1979. Sherman originally kept his stable at Hollywood Park, but when that historic facility closed, he moved to Los Alamitos Race Course, known as a Quarter Horse mecca but has inherited Thoroughbred dates from the defunct track. Sherman's son Alan serves as his top assistant. At the age of 77 he became the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky Derby, in his first trip back to Churchill Downs since he accompanied Swaps aboard a railroad boxcar. He visited Swaps' grave, located at the Kentucky Derby Museum, praying that California Chrome would be like him. His prayers were answered on May 3. After the win, he said, "I'm so thankful that I'm here. I don't think I change much anymore. I have a lot of friends on the racetrack, been around a long time. I'm just the same old Art Sherman, you know — except, I won the Kentucky Derby. I think California Chrome is the rock star, and I'm his manager and I'm going all the way."

Jockey Victor Espinoza:

A former bus driver from Mexico City, Victor Espinoza was thrust into the national spotlight back in 2002 when he picked up the mount aboard Illinois Derby winner War Emblem for the horse's new owner Prince Ahmed bin Salman and new trainer Bob Baffert, and promptly won the Derby and Preakness, setting up a run for the Triple Crown. Unfortunately in that Belmont, the need-the-lead colt stumbled badly at the start, leaving him well behind and unable to get into contention.

After a falling-out with Baffert, Espinoza's career went backwards as he failed to pick up live mounts and he plummeted in the national standings. Eventually top trainers in Southern California began to use him again, and he finally reached the milestone 3000th win aboard Flashy Delight at Hollywood Park on May 31, 2013.

On December 22, 2013, trainer Art Sherman gave him a leg up on California Chrome for the first time, in the King Glorious Stakes for state-breds, a race which marked the beginning of the colt's unbeaten streak through to the Preakness, but also the end of an era, as it was the final stakes race ever run at Hollywood Park. Will Espinoza be the first Triple Crown winning jockey since Steve Cauthen?

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