Tag Archive | "Victor Espinoza"

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Preakness record 123,469 see California Chrome take second leg of Triple Crown

Posted on 17 May 2014 by WNST Staff

CALIFORNIA CHROME DAZZLES RECORD CROWD IN PREAKNESS STAKES

Derby Winner Continues Quest to Become 12th Triple Crown Champion

BALTIMORE, 05-17-14 – California Chrome continued on his quest for a Triple Crown sweep Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, scoring a dominating victory in the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) to the enthusiastic approval of a record crowd of 123,469.

 

Two weeks after capturing the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 1 ¾ lengths, the California-bred 3-year-old colt received yet another heads-up ride from jockey Victor Espinoza on his way to a 1 ½-length triumph over Ride On Curlin in the 139th running of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

 

Trained by 77-year-old Art Sherman, California Chrome is eligible to become Thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown champion in the 146th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) June 7 at Belmont Park. The modestly bred California-bred colt will seek to join the company of Triple Crown champions Affirmed (1978), Seattle Slew (1977), Secretariat (1973), Citation (1948), Assault (1946), Count Fleet (1943),Whirlaway (1941), War Admiral (1937), Omaha (1935), Gallant Fox (1930) and Sir Barton (1919).

 

California Chrome, a strong 1-2 favorite in a field of 10, broke alertly and gained stalking position behind early pacesetter Pablo Del Monte. After Ria Antonia, the lone filly in the field, made an early move to challenge the pacesetter heading into the first turn, California Chrome settled in third around the turn and on the backstretch. Social Inclusion, the 5-1 second betting choice ridden by Luis Contreras, made a move outside California Chrome heading into the far turn, prompting Espinoza to ask his horse for some run. The favorite swept past the pacesetter on the turn into the homestretch, engaged to his outside by Social Inclusion, and spurted away in early stretch, never to be challenged again.

 

California Chrome crossed the finish line clear of Ride On Curlin, who rallied from far back under Joel Rosario to finish second, 6 ½ lengths clear of Social Inclusion. The running time of 1:54.84 for the 1 3/16 miles of the Maryland Jockey Club’s signature race was the fastest since Big Brown was timed in 1:54.80 in 2008.

 

The Preakness highlighted a 13-race program with nine stakes, including four graded stakes, generating an all-sources handle of $83,786,363, including the $53,655,673 wagered on the Middle Jewel.

 

The Preakness Day Celebration included performances by Grammy Award winner Lorde and hip-hop icon Nas in the infield.

 

“It was another fantastic day with the record attendance under ideal conditions,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “We pride ourselves in our hospitality and extend an invitation to Sherman Racing to stay here at Pimlico for as long as they want as the team prepares California Chrome to the Belmont Stakes and a date with destiny.”

 

PREAKNESS STAKES QUOTES

Winning Trainer Art Sherman (California Chrome): “He broke great and had a perfect trip. I was so happy when I saw where he was able to set him. Right now he’s really on his toes and doing good. He’s a remarkable horse to come back in two weeks and win. I know he’s not the only horse that ever did that, but it’s tough on a horse to come back in two weeks. I appreciate everyone involved in my team. They did a hell of a job. Both my sons are here. It’s very emotional.

“To me, this race was even a little tougher for me knowing that I’m coming back in a little shorter distance than I normally ever run them and the time I give them to rest between races. I was a little concerned about that, but he’s got a big heart this horse – big.

“Wow. I’ll tell you it’s quite a thrill. I know we had to run harder in this race.  For me, just watching him perform, coming back in two weeks, I was a little concerned.
But I’ll tell you one thing: he’s a real race horse. I’m hoping that the mile and a half is up his alley, too, because he’s a very good horse.

“Oh, you’ve got to have a tear. I’ve got my whole family here. We worked hard all year and Victor (Espinoza) rode him perfect. It’s a dream for any trainer to do this.

“I couldn’t tell how much horse he really had. It was hard for me to get a good view because people were jumping up and down in front of me. But when I looked up at the board, I could see him starting to move away and I felt really good then.”

 

Winning Jockey Victor Espinoza (California Chrome): “It was not easy, but we got it done. I’m excited and looking forward. I had to start early because the outside horse was pushing me. I thought I had the perfect position, but when the outside horse attacked me, I had to open it up at that point. It was tough today. This race was a little complicated. I saw another horse take the lead, I’m second, then (Ria Antonia) wants to go. I have to steady, steady and I have to hope and make the right decision and hope for the best. Then, I’m sitting third and I think it’s perfect.”

 

Trainer Billy Gowan (Ride On Curlin, 2nd): “I thought it was awesome. California Chrome ran a great race and he’s a great horse. My horse ran a great race. He was in a good spot down the back. Joel (Rosario) said he got shut off for a second, but he came running in the stretch and gave me a heckuva thrill. I’m really proud. I like the horse; I like everything; I like the Preakness. I think we have to go to the Belmont if he comes out of the race good.”

 

Jockey Joel Rosario (Ride On Curlin, 2nd): “We had a good race. My horse ran really well. I thought that I had him and we were going strong, but if I got beat, I wanted it to be California Chrome, because he is a great horse. I know my horse is too.”

 

Owner Ron Sanchez (Social Inclusion, 3rd): “My horse, I would have liked to have seen him on the lead, but that didn’t happen today. I’m proud of my horse. He ran well. Right now, we’re going to the Belmont.”

 

Jockey Luis Contreras (Social Inclusion, 3rd): “He acted up a little bit in the gate, but it was no big deal at all. The horse ran a really big race today. I can’t tell you how happy I am with this horse. We will get them the next time.”

 

Trainer Mike Maker (General a Rod, 4th): “He ran well. He may have been a little crowded down the backside. Whether or not that affected anything, we’ll find out.”

 

Jockey Javier Castellano (General a Rod, 4th): “It was a beautiful trip until the three-eighths pole when I checked him bad. I’m not sure if I could have beat California Chrome, but that sure cost me.”

 

Trainer Graham Motion (Ring Weekend, 5th): “He got a decent spot but he just didn’t have a real clean trip. A horse stopped in front of him. I don’t think it cost him a lot but it might have cost him a position. I was very pleased with him. I thought he was very game. I thought he ran very competitively. I just wish he’d had a clean trip and then you wouldn’t have any question. We’ll talk about it (Belmont Stakes), definitely. I was very pleased with how he ran today.”

 

Jockey Alan Garcia (Ring Weekend, 5th): “We had an unbelievably rough trip. We had trouble right from the start, getting bounced around. But he did everything he could.”

 

Trainer Wesley Ward (Pablo Del Monte, 6th): “He got away good from the gate but then Calvin (Borel) on Ria Antonia put her right with him. I wish we could have gotten away with a 48 (second) half. I would have felt a lot better.”

 

Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez (Pablo Del Monte, 6th): “He wanted to go for the lead and got over good to a spot. He ran his race.”

 

Trainer Mark Casse (Dynamic Impact, 7th): “I think we beat three or four horses. We have no excuses. He just didn’t run fast enough.”

 

Jockey Miguel Mena (Dynamic Impact, 7th): “We got a nice trip and a clean break and got around the turn good. But he struggled a little with the racetrack, but he came running at the end.”

 

Trainer Linda Rice (Kid Cruz, 8th): “I was a little disappointed, but he was running at the end of it. He just had too much to do. I’m also thrilled that we have a Triple Crown in the making, so that’s really good for racing. I think we still may go after the Belmont because the distance is in his favor. This was a pretty good challenge for him and he did pretty well.”

 

Jockey Julian Pimentel (Kid Cruz, 8th): “We were really far back on the outside. It took so long to get going. When we started going, he got going pretty good down the lane, but it was just too late.”

 

Trainer Bob Baffert (Bayern, 9th): “I got a horrible trip. That was a horrible trip. He took a half-step and got bumped. (California Chrome) is something. He’s a cool customer. He does everything right. He’s fast enough to stay out of trouble. Victor rides him with so much confidence. He knows when he has to move into a spot. He has so much acceleration.”

 

Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Bayern, 9th): “It was very rough. The horses on either side of us sandwiched us so tight we were practically off the ground. We got into a decent position and he still made a run to the quarter pole.”

Trainer Tom Amoss (Ria Antonia, 10th): “Disappointed, but she looks good.”

 

Jockey Calvin Borel (Ria Antonia, 10th): “My horse ran OK today. We didn’t have any real trouble. She’s a nice horse, but she just didn’t have it in her today.”

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California Chrome owner Coburn: “The hospitality (Maryland has) shown us is top shelf”

Posted on 17 May 2014 by WNST Staff

VICTOR ESPINOZA

ART SHERMAN

STEVE COBURN

 

THE MODERATOR:  We have Victor Espinoza, and we’ll have Steve Coburn and Art Sherman coming in as well.  Victor,  congratulations.  Well done.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Thank you, sir.

 

Q.  Did you start him earlier than in the past?  If so, is there any reason you did that?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  I had to because the outside horse, he was pushing me.  He made me move at the half mile post.  I really don’t want to.  I want to wait as soon as possible.  I thought I was in a perfect position, and I just wanted to wait as long as I can.

But when the outside horse attacked me, and I had to just let it go, slowly.  I don’t want to make a strong move at that point.  But turning for home, he really got after me, and I had to just open it up at that point.

 

Q.  Does this feel different for you from winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown?  If so, how come?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  It was tough today.  It was tough because this race was just a little complicated.  I bounced out of there running out of the gate, and I saw one horse and I was in the right (Indiscernible).  I saw somebody else come by the turn, and he just like trying to go with the other one.  And I had to just like go steady, steady and wait.  And all of those things, I had hope to make the right decision, let the horse clear me and sit in behind him, without even irritating California Chrome.  In a tenth of a second I had to make that decision, and hopefully the best.  After the other horse got cleared, so I sit 3rd and I thought it was perfect.  As soon as I think that, in a half mile, here he comes the other one.  They attacked me too soon.  There he goes.  Wow, this is crazy.  It was a big challenge for me.  I was telling somebody, I don’t even know who I was talking to, like this race it was more tiring mentally than physical because all of the things going on early in the race, wow, I didn’t expect that.

 

Q.  You said you wanted a second chance at the Triple Crown.  You have one now.  What does it mean to you?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  It means a lot, and I’m ready.  I’m ready for it.  Hopefully California Chrome comes back good.  It’s tough, but I’m just glad to have my second chance in my career. In a million years I didn’t think I was going to have a second chance.  I was very close for once.  But it will work out.  Life goes on, and over a decade, here we go.  I’m here again.

 

Q.  Has this been the toughest race for you, and why?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  This Preakness was tough.  I’m telling you.  There are some horses, some fresh horses, and they attacked me very soon that I won.  And the way this race was set up, it was just kind of complicated.  I mean, I’m just glad that I don’t study the form, because it will work out the way the form looks.  The way you think the horses are going to go, everything is different.  But I never have a plan how I want to ride this horse.  Every race that he runs.  Many people ask me how are you going to ride him, and I wish I knew.  Some maybe thought that I’m not going to tell the truth, but it is the truth.  I go like a blind guy how I’m going to ride him.  I make my decisions during the race.

THE MODERATOR:  Art Sherman has joined us now, the trainer for California Chrome.  We have a question for both Victor and Art.

 

Q.  What did you learn from your first run at the Triple Crown in regards to the hype and all the things off the track that go with it?  What did you learn from that?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  I learned a lot.  I think the first time I’d been there I was kind of like, you know some things I was not ready for.  Some things that I did that I shouldn’t have done, or some things that I had done that I’m just glad that I did.  But now I have a second chance, so I probably will enjoy myself a little bit better, and go day by day.  Because as long as California Chrome comes out good and is ready for the next step, I’ll be ready too.

 

Q.  Are you somewhat amazed this horse is able to respond to every challenge, and do you think he can do it again?

ART SHERMAN:  After watching him today, and coming back in two weeks which I never usually run a horse that quick back, and now I’ve got three weeks, a mile and a half, it’s quite a challenge.  I’ll tell you.  You have to have a very good horse to win these three races, and I’m hoping I’ve got one right now.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  It’s not easy.  If it was easy a lot of horses would have won the Triple Crown, you know?  30‑something years, it’s just crazy.  It has to be a super horse to win that.  It’s so close to the races.  They lose so much energy.  Hopefully California Chrome comes back good, and he is the one who hopefully can do it.

 

Q.  Because the race is now a mile and a half, does it change how you train the horse?

ART SHERMAN:  Well, it will be because we’ve got a new surface.  I’ve got three weeks now.  He’ll probably just work an easy half a mile up to this race, and I can just play it by ear and see how fast he recovers and when I will work him back.  But he will work before that Belmont.

 

Q.  (Indiscernible)?

ART SHERMAN:  (No Audio) in my career.  A Triple Crown winner, if you had said that to me at the beginning of the year, I would have said, “Are you crazy?”  Now that I’m getting closer, I’m elated, really big time.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  It would probably be something I’ve never dreamed in my life just to win the Triple Crown.  I don’t even know what to say right now.  I’m just having fun and enjoying the Preakness right now and waiting for the Kentucky Derby.  So I’ll think of that later when I get close to the race.

 

Q.  The question for Victor, is this a victory for the fans who have supported you so much?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Absolutely.  You know, they’ve got my support.  (No Audio) all the jockeys that have helped support me, every human being that’s helped me.

 

Q.  I wonder if you can walk us through your view of the race, and the level of confidence?

ART SHERMAN:  I didn’t see it really clear, to be honest with you.  I know I’ll get a chance to see it a lot better.  Everybody was standing up in front of me, and I had a camera point blank in my face, but I got a chance to see the board, you know what I mean?  I knew when I saw him break, I was very happy.  I knew going into the first turn Victor was in that position.  As a former rider, he had to make a decision.  So whether to go on or get in behind horses, he got a chance to move him out.  When I saw him at the half a mile pole having dead aim on the leaders, I said, now, Victor, we’re in the driver’s seat.

 

Q.  Art, can you describe your emotions when the race ended as compared to the Derby?  Was there the same elation or was there relief today because you won the second leg?

ART SHERMAN:  Well, every race to me, the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, you know, I’ve never won at million dollar races.  I was always kind of a claimant type of trainer.  Now I’m up there with all the big boys, and I’m saying, wow.  I said it’s just an honor being blessed to have a horse like him.

 

Q.  Victor, when you turned for home, did you have as much horse as you had in the past when you’ve made the move?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Yes, I had.  Oh, no, I had to move early today.  I had to start moving in the half‑mile pole, which is tough for a horse to start moving early and keep going all the way to the end.  It’s not easy.  And today, California Chrome proved he can move.  Even if he’s a little early, he still has it.  I don’t know how much still has, but I’ll make sure I get him to the wire first today.

 

Q.  Same feeling?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Same feeling.

 

Q.  I believe this is the sixth straight win for California Chrome.  What has been the number one ingredient for that winning streak right now?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  I think the way I ride him.

ART SHERMAN:  I’ll drink to that.

THE MODERATOR:  We can probably end that right there  (Laughing).  Great answer though.

 

Q.  When will you be at the barn tomorrow so the media can talk to you tomorrow morning, and when are you thinking about taking the horse out of here?

ART SHERMAN:  I think he’ll probably have a couple of days here to unwind and just be a horse.  You know what I mean?  Even though it’s not that far a van drive, he needs to just ‑‑ he’s going to be tired in the morning.  I’m going to be there early like I always am.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Me too.

ART SHERMAN:  Give him a little kiss for myself.  I tell you, he’s my superstar, I can tell you that.

 

Q.  So no plans etched in stone as to the time you’re going to take him out?  6:00 a.m. you’ll be there tomorrow?

ART SHERMAN:  He’s not going to be out.  He’ll be probably walking before you guys get there.

 

Q.  How is it dealing with all the outside distractions pulling at you both before the race and now after the race?

ART SHERMAN:  Well, I’m kind of getting used to it.  After I won the Kentucky Derby, I said, wow, all of a sudden I feel like Willie Nelson the old rock star coming through the airport.  So I’m getting kind of used to it.  Sometimes I need to take my little siesta for about an hour.  I call it just charging my battery a little bit, and then I’m okay.

 

Q.  How hard did you ride him today?  You were pretty easy on him at the stretch at Churchill.  How much did you have to dig into him today?

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  I had to a little bit more than Churchill.  The only reason because the race today was a little bit complicated.  The horse on the outside they attacked me very soon, early move at the half a mile pole.  So it’s way, way too much for him.  But I had to continue to go not really hard but more than the Kentucky Derby.

THE MODERATOR:  Victor, thank you.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Thank you all, and thank you for everything.

THE MODERATOR:  On behalf of the Maryland Jockey Club and all the fans, thank you for your class all week.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Thank you to all the guys around here and everybody from Pimlico.  They’re awesome.  Thank you all.

THE MODERATOR:  Steve, congratulations on behalf of the Maryland Jockey Club.  Congratulations on a spectacular performance.

STEVE COBURN:  Thank you very much.

 

Q.  You’ve always had a great feeling about this horse.  You keep predicting wins and he keeps winning for you.  What’s next?

STEVE COBURN:  The Triple Crown.  You know what?  I don’t mean to be bold or cocky or arrogant because I’ve said this.  I’ve said it a hundred times if I’ve said it once.  When I saw this colt, when I saw this baby when he was a day old, I told my wife, Carolyn, this horse is going to do something big.  I don’t know what it is, but we’re going to stay in the game to make sure this colt gets to be the best that he can be.  I’ve been a firm believer in that ever since, and he’s not proven me wrong.  This is a nice horse.  He loves people.  He loves what he does, and that’s why he’s America’s horse, because in my opinion, this horse, what he’s doing for two guys that work their butts off every day just to put beans and bacon on the table, this horse has given everybody else out there the incentive to say, you know what?

We can do it too.  We can do this also.  It may not be a race horse.  It may be the idea that they have in their head or a new product or whatever the case may be, but we just hope that this horse is letting America know that the little guy can win.  The little guy can do it, because this is the little guy here.  Have you ever seen him?  He’s only about that tall (laughing).

But honestly, folks, I don’t know how to explain how I feel within my heart and soul.  It’s hard for me because I get very emotional about it.  But I honestly believe this horse is America’s horse.  He’s giving everybody that little light bulb when it clicks on, say you know what?  We can do this.  We can do this with just a little bit more try.  We can do it.  I’ve always told my wife, I said when I die, on my headstone put my name and say a man that loved his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and he always had try, period.

 

Q.  Can you imagine the kind of reception you’re going to get when you get to New York?

ART SHERMAN:  All I know is my wife already bugged me she wanted to go see a play downtown, so I know I’m in trouble right away.

STEVE COBURN:  So your wife’s been talking to my wife, right?

ART SHERMAN:  That’s right.

 

Q.  Steve, how about you?

STEVE COBURN:  I’ve never been to Kentucky.  It was always on our bucket list to go there.  Not necessarily for the Kentucky Derby, but just to go to Churchill Downs.  We went to Kentucky as the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, and we did.  We came to Maryland with the favorite to win the Preakness, and we did.  I think I’m going incognito to New York.  I’m going to go buy me some dreadlocks, and some Billy Bob Ts, and I’m sliding in the back door (laughing).

But you know what?  Dave Picker from NBC Sports, he told me, when you get there, you call me and we’ll show you a good time.  So, Dave, you know you’re on the hook right now.

 

Q.  Can you get some dreadlocks for Art?

STEVE COBURN:  They’re on the way.

 

Q.  Can you take us through your emotions watching the race?

STEVE COBURN:  Well, honestly, when he broke good, and he held his line, I had so many cameras in my face, I didn’t even get to see the race.  Carolyn says he’s in the lead.  I said where is he.  She said he’s in the lead.  He’s going to win the race, and then I saw him, I said he’s winning the damn race (laughing).  I had so many cameras in my face that I actually couldn’t see the race.

But you know what?  Ladies and gentlemen of this wonderful, wonderful state, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate what you’ve done for us.  We’re just everyday people.  We go to work every day.  What you’ve done for us, I cannot express how much I appreciate it.

I looked in the mirror this morning, and I thought I had me like a royal birthmark on my butt.  But I didn’t, because you people have been treating me like I’m royalty here.  So thank you, Maryland.  Thank you so much.

 

Q.  As crazy as it sounds, can you look back now and think that turning down the $6 million was a good decision?

ART SHERMAN:  Actually, he knew more than I did, and now the horse is worth $30 million.

STEVE COBURN:  That’s my boy.

 

Q.  So the answer is an emphatic yes?

ART SHERMAN:  A big yes.

 

Q.  In retrospect now, the $30 million you talked about winning the Triple Crown tonight ‑‑ the deal you turned down for $30 million, $6 million, whatever it was, was it the best business deal you didn’t make?

STEVE COBURN:  Not only yes, but hell yes.  No, honestly, we were here yesterday, and the man I said not only no, I said hell no.  And he shook my hand and I said I respect what you did.  So that tells me this man actually believed in us because we knew we had a good horse.  This horse wouldn’t be who he is today without the trainer, Art Sherman.  The exercise rider, Willie, and Raul, because Raul sleeps with this horse more than he sleeps with his wife.

So, Raul, thank you.  I love you.  You’re doing a great job.  Art, you have a lot of competition in front of you.  So when you see Raul, you tell him I said thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I’ll see him in the morning, actually.

But, yeah, it is what it is.  I can’t explain it.  But we’re not Dumbass Partners.  We’re Dumbass Partners family right now, and we’re sharing this with the world.  We just want everybody to know that thank you, thank you so much for just believing in us and in this horse because he is a very special horse.

 

Q.  You keep talking about going to work every day.  At what point do you quit your job and live off the income?

STEVE COBURN:  Well, I’m only 61, so I’ve got at least four more years to work, and I will show up every day because I cannot do this to my family, which is the people that I work with.  I could not walk away from them simply because I don’t want to put them in a bind.  I could do it, but I’m not going to do it because that’s not the type of person I am.  I am me.  I get up.  I go to work every day.  For somebody that has been fortunate enough as I have to have this happen to them, I can understand that they want to just get out the door and say, I’m done.  I can’t do this because I cannot put my company in that situation.  Because I work.  I work.  I love my job, and I work.         So I’ll be there until I’m able to retire.  Try to get me some social security.  Right now I can’t get it.  I’m only 61.  Now my wife retired, thank goodness.  I never knew I had so many underwear.  She had been washing my drawers for a long time.  I’ve got a lot of clean drawers.  Okay, all right, honey, we’re done.

 

Q.  In all seriousness, can this horse win the Triple Crown?

ART SHERMAN:  I tell you, I wouldn’t want to be in anybody else’s shoes right now.  I think the horse is a phenomenal horse.  I know right now we’re running on a high.  But I think when we get to Belmont this horse is going to run big.  I really do.

 

Q.  Why is Mr. Martin not here?

STEVE COBURN:  Well, all I can say is my partner, Perry Martin, is a very private person.  And Perry, I hope you’re listening to this because, you know what?  We love you, and we really wanted you to be here.  But I can understand why he’s not here.  The hospitality we received at Churchill Downs wasn’t very good, and Perry Martin, he decided that he and his family were going to watch the race some place within the world ‑‑ I can’t tell you where it’s at because I don’t even know where in the hell it’s at ‑‑ and then go have a good supper.

So, Perry, I hope I did you proud, because you saw me crying on camera.

 

Q.  There is a question in regards to the Churchill Downs comment you made to NBC?  You said Churchill Downs could take a lesson from the Maryland Jockey Club.

VICTOR ESPINOZA:  Yes.

STEVE COBURN:  Yes, and I’m serious about this.  I’m serious as a heart attack.  Because you know what?  We got to Churchill and not only did I complain, but there were other trainers and owners and even the jockeys were complaining about the way they were treated.  I’ve said this once, I’ve said it 50 times, Churchill Downs needs to call Maryland to get a lesson in hospitality.  Because these people right here, they’ve treated us like we’re royalty, and I can’t say thank you enough.

We’ve got a gentleman out here, his name’s John.  That’s our driver.  John, say hi to the folks.  There is John.  He’s saying hi to the folks.  But you know what?  We’re not royalty.  We don’t expect to be treated like royalty, but the hospitality that these folks in Maryland have shown us is top shelf.  I’m talking above top shelf liquor.  I’m talking top shelf.

So, thank you, Maryland.  Thank you for everything you’ve done for us, and hopefully we’ll be back next year for the Black‑Eyed Susan, because California Chrome has a foal sis.

 

Q.  Do you think Perry will be able to make the Belmont?

STEVE COBURN:  Well, you know what?  I know a lot of people that can throw a good loop, and we’ll drag his butt to Belmont if he doesn’t want to show up on his own, so I’m hoping he will.  I really am.  Because he needs to be ‑‑ he’s missing out on a lot of fun.  He really, really is.  I know how him and Denise are, and I’ll talk to him.  I can’t guarantee nothing, but I’ll talk to him.

 

Q.  Do you think he missed out here for not being here?

STEVE COBURN:  You know what?  I can’t answer that for him.  All I can say is Perry, you’re missing a hell of a party, buddy.  You really are.

 

Q.  Did you talk to Perry right after the race?  If so, what did he say?

STEVE COBURN:  I have not talked to Perry yet.  My phone’s turned off, but I’m sure that when I turn it back on, there are going to be a lot of buzzes coming on that thing.  Perry and I, we talk a lot.  It’s back and forth.  It’s like, hey, partner, how you doing?  Fine.  How you doing?  It’s very casual.  We have a great relationship with Perry and Denise.  When we get together, my wife Carolyn and I, and Perry and Denise, it’s us.  I don’t know what else to tell you.  But Perry, we need to go to New York, New York, New York.

 

Q.  Is it fair to say that Perry isn’t here because of the way he was treated at Churchill?

STEVE COBURN:  You know what?  I can’t answer that for him, but I think it had a lot to do with it.  Because he had his mother who is 84 years old, trying to get everything done for her so she could be in the winner’s circle and so on and so forth.  There were people doing what they could to help us, but apparently they didn’t do quite enough.  But I can’t answer that for Perry.  I honestly believe that it was a bad, bad day at Churchill.  Even though we won, it was a bad day for my partner and his family.

 

Q.  How much does this sport need a Triple Crown winner?

STEVE COBURN:  This sport of horse racing ‑‑ okay, let me back up here a little bit.  We went on the number system as far as not money, based on points, right?  And in my opinion, in my opinion there are trainers out there that train horses just to upset the apple cart.  I honestly believe that there are a lot of good horses running out there, and 19 of them started in the Kentucky Derby.  I honestly believe that they need to change this sport to where those 20 horses that start in the Kentucky Derby are the only 20 eligible to run in all three races.  If you bow out in the Preakness, you don’t come back for the Belmont.

I honestly believe that if the Triple Crown is not won this year by California Chrome, I will never see it in my lifetime because there are people out there trying to upset the apple cart.  They don’t want a Triple Crown winner.  They want a paycheck.  So that’s my honest opinion.  If they don’t like it, I don’t care.  But that’s my opinion.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, folks.

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California Chrome established as 5-2 favorite, draws fifth post in Derby

Posted on 30 April 2014 by WNST Staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The only time Victor Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby was aboard War Emblem in 2002. They broke from the No. 5 post, the same position he’ll start the 140th edition of the race with early 5-2 favorite California Chrome.

“Hopefully, that’s my lucky number,” Espinoza said Wednesday.

Eight horses have won from there, most recently Funny Cide in 2003.

“I think it’s a perfect spot,” trainer Art Sherman said. “I think we break clean, he’ll get out of a lot of trouble. He’s got a little gas leaving there.”

At 77, Sherman could become the oldest trainer to win the Derby, surpassing Charlie Whittingham’s record of 76 when Sunday Silence won in 1989.

California Chrome comes into the Derby having won his last four starts by a combined 24¼ lengths.

“Just an amazing horse to ride,” Espinoza said. “I let him do his own thing and I think he likes that.”

Hoppertunity was made the 6-1 second choice in the full field of 20 horses.

Hoppertunity, who lost to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby, drew the No. 11 post for the race Saturday at Churchill Downs. He’s trained by Bob Baffert, a three-time Derby winner with two starters.

“Other than California Chrome, who’s proven he’s a really good horse, there’s a lot of horses in there that are pretty close,” Baffert said. “There’s a lot of parity in this field.”

His other horse, Chitu, is a 20-1 long shot that drew the No. 13 post.

Wicked Strong, named for the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, is the 8-1 third choice and will break from the 20th post on the far outside. He and the No. 10 horse, Wildcat Red, will be last ones loaded into the starting gate, so they won’t be in there very long.

Some trainers don’t like the No. 20 post because their horse is on the far outside and has to quickly make its way over toward the rail to save ground.

Calvin Borel will break from the No. 19 post aboard Ride On Curlin. The jockey nicknamed “Bo-rail” for his love of riding along the rail has won three Derbies since 2007, and he’ll have to hustle his horse over quickly to snag his favorite position.

California Chrome, Hoppertunity and Wicked Strong were the only horses listed at single digits by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

Danza is the 10-1 fourth choice and drew the No. 4 post. He’s one of four horses trained by Todd Pletcher. The others are: Intense Holiday, 12-1; Vinceremos, 30-1; and We Miss Artie, 50-1.

“We made out well,” Pletcher said. “It doesn’t matter where you draw, you’re just looking for a clean trip.”

Mike Maker will saddle a trio of horses: General a Rod, 15-1; Harry’s Holiday, 50-1; and Vicar’s In Trouble, a 30-1 shot that drew the dreaded No. 1 post.

Rosie Napravnik will be aboard Vicar’s In Trouble trying to become the first female jockey to win the Derby. She was fifth last year with Mylute, the highest finish by a woman in history. Napravnik watched the draw from the jockey’s room at the track.

“I was just kind of shocked, being the first one drawn,” she said. “Vicar’s real sharp out of the gate and I think he’ll be able to get in good position. There’s been plenty of winners out of the one-hole, so Vicar’s not in trouble yet.”

Eight horses have won from the first spot in the starting gate, but none since Ferdinand in 1986. Most trainers despise the No. 1 hole because their horse starts next to the rail and could get pinched going into the crowded first turn.

The starting gate is loaded two horses at a time, and the first ones to go in will be Vicar’s In Trouble and No. 11 Hoppertunity, meaning they’ll have the longest wait while the rest of the field is loaded.

“He’s a pretty cool, calm horse so he should be fine in there,” Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith said about Hoppertunity.

Hoppertunity didn’t race as a 2-year-old, setting him up for a chance to break one of the Derby’s oldest jinxes: no horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without racing at 2.

The No. 10 post has produced the most Derby winners with nine, most recently in 2005, when Smith won with 50-1 shot Giacomo. Wildcat Red, trained by Jose Garrafalo, landed in that spot this time.

The other 50-1 shot in the race is Commanding Curve, who will break from the No. 17 post.

The 21st horse on the points list is Pablo Del Monte, an also eligible who would need a defection before 9 a.m. Friday, when Derby wagering opens, to get into the $2.2 million race.

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