Churchill Downs, Dirt, 2000m
3 May 2014

California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) kept his winning streak alive yesterday when collecting his fifth straight win, his first outside California, in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby crowning trainer Art Sherman at 77, the oldest handler to train a Kentucky Derby winner.

The flashy chestnut was away well from the five-hole and tucked into a stalking third in the two path behind Uncle Sigh (Indian Charlie) and Chitu (Henny Hughes), who set early splits of :23.04 and :47.37.

When California Chrome hit the front turning for home, it was like a repeat of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and the race was all over from there. He powered to the front and effortlessly drew away to win by 1 3/4 lengths, becoming the first California-bred winner since Decidedly in 1962 and providing jockey Victor Espinoza his second winnder after War Emblem in 2002.

Long shot Commanding Curve (Master Command) repeated stable-mate Golden Soul (Perfect Soul)’s performance last year taking second and Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner Danza (Street Boss) got up for third.

The final time for the GI Kentucky Derby was 2:03.66.

California Chrome’s winning streak started with Betfair Hollywood Park’s state-bred King Glorious Stakes 22 December 2013. He then added the state-bred California Cup Derby at Santa Anita 25 January before powerful performances in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes 8 March and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby 5 April.

California Chrome is owned and bred by Coburn and Perry Martin, and is out of Love The Chase (Not For Love) whom the pair bought for a mere $8,000. He is by Lucky Pulpit, a son of Pulpit.

Extracts from TDN/EBN