California Chrome provides local Kentucky Derby flavor
May 2, 2014
Despite some misfortune this week, Douglas County will still be well represented Saturday during the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby.
Hoppertunity, one of two locally-owned entries in the Derby, was scratched from the race because of a problem with his left front foot, trainer Bob Baffert announced Thursday morning. Hoppertunity is co-owned by Mike Pegram of Minden (and principal owner of the Carson Valley Inn), Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.
That still leaves California Chrome, co-owned by Topaz Lake residents Steve and Carolyn Coburn along with Perry and Denise Martin, to run in a race scheduled to start at 3:24 p.m.
California Chrome comes in as the pre-race favorite based on his four-race win streak dating to December.
Most recently, California Chrome won by 5-1/4 lengths on April 5 at the Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park.
When the Derby’s position draw was held Wednesday, California Chrome received the No. 5 slot and Hoppertunity the No. 11 slot for the 1 1/4-mile race.
California Chrome’s trainer is 77-year-old veteran Art Sherman and Victor Espinoza won the 2002 Kentucky Derby aboard War Emblem.
Hoppertunity ran to second-place at the Santa Anita Derby and before that won the Rebel Stakes on March 15 at Oaklawn Park.
California Chrome, a chestnut colored colt with four white stockings, has won six of 10 races. His races have all been run in California.
Interestingly enough, only three California-bred horses have won the Derby. Decidedly in 1962 is the most recent of those winners.
For Steve Coburn, Saturday will be a special day for another reason since it will be his 61st birthday. He hopes it turns into a victory celebration at Churchill Downs.