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.