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California Chrome: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

California Chrome has now won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The favorite is now looking to take the third leg, the Belmont Stakes this Saturday, June 7, to become the 12th horse in history to win all three in a row. Watch the video above to watch California Chrome’s victory at the 2-14 Preakness Stakes.

Read on for all the facts on the horse, the odds, background information, and the horse’s jockey.


1. History Places the Odds Against Him

california chrome

California Chrome takes the lead during the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes. (Getty)

At this Saturday’s 146th Belmont Stakes, California Chrome will have wagering odds of about 3-5 based on his impressive record this year with a six race winning streak. However, there have been only 11 horses in history to sweep the Triple Crown, the first in 1919 and the last in 1978. Over 22 horses in history have won both the Derby and Preakness, but lost in the Belmont Stakes.

Since California Chrome was born and raised in California, his odds are weakened even further based on the fact that only 2 California thoroughbreds in history have won the Belmont; once in 1893 and 1903. The Belmont Stakes has been known to favor New York based colts who have previously raced the track. The New York thoroughbreds have won 15 of the last 25 races there, while California Chrome had never stepped foot over the California state line until his win in the Kentucky Derby.

In perspective, California Chrome’s odds of losing should be much higher than his chances of winning, but his past few performances have proven otherwise.


2. Art Sherman is the Trainer

Art Sherman is admired as a kind and competitive trainer to all those that know him. Sherman was a jockey for 23 years before he became a trainer in 1979, making him one of the oldest trainers currently in the sport. Watch the video above to watch Sherman’s interview with Todd Schrupp on the race this weekend.

According to his Kentucky Derby bio:

Art Sherman got started in the racing industry when he moved to Los Angeles and started working at the racetrack for Rex Ellsworth in 1953. Ellsworth is best known for his work with 1955 Kentucky Derby winner Swaps, and Sherman accompanied the horse when he won the Kentucky Derby in 1955.

He decided to switch over to training when jockeying took a hard toll on his body. After suffering a fractured femur, a lacerated spleen, a broken nose, injuries to his face, a broken collarbone and wrist and constant starvation to stay thin, he called it quits. Becoming a trainer gave him the ability to continue his passion of working with horses.

Art Sherman now runs a stable with his sons Steve and Alan called the Art Sherman Racing Stable in San Mateo, California.

Sherman has been gushing about his excitement for the race in addition to his affinity for California Chrome.

Sherman describes California Chrome to The Sacramento Bee with great sincerity:

He’s the kind of horse you dream about. Each time he goes out there, it kind of takes my breath away.

3. Jockey Victor Espinoza Is California Chrome’s Jockey

Espinoza’s jockeying career began in 1993 and he has won over 3,100 races since. Although he has been wildly successful in the Southern California racing circuit, his record at Belmont Park is 2 for 67 with wins in 2001 and 2004. Watch the video above to see Espinoza’s victory at the Kentucky Derby.

When asked about the worry surrounding his history at Belmont Park, Espinoza said to Daily News:

“That’s my record? I don’t even know. I don’t follow records and I don’t really care about records. I just care about the horses I ride.”

The Mexican Jockey has ridden California Chrome to victory during his winning streak, becoming a fixture of the California colt’s. He is currently endorsing labels such as Call 811, MGM Grand and BurgerFi, wearing pants covered in sponsors for the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and this weekend at Belmont.

The Kentucky Derby describes Espinoza’s accomplishments as:

He began riding in the United States in 1993 and has found great success on the California circuit. He won the 2000 Breeders’ cup Distaff aboard Spain and has ridden other great horses such as Evening Jewel, The Usual Q.T., Smiling Tiger, and Congaree.


4. California Chrome’s Success is a Cinderella Story

Horse breeding and racing is one of the most elite sports in the world due to the expenses required to do both. Only those who had money could successfully participate in the process. Until California Chrome. Watch the video above to see and emotional interview with co-owner, Steve Coburn.

The New York Post refers to the sport as “the sport of kings,” saying:

“The old joke is that the way to make a small fortune by owning horses is to start with a large fortune.”

Two couples, steve and Carolyn Coburn of Topaz Lake, Nevada and Perry and Denise Martin of Yuba City California are the most unsuspecting horse owners in horse racing. The Coburns and Martins became involved with horses though by owning a small share through a syndicate called Love the Chase, eventually throwing together $8,000 to purchase California Chrome.

The Martins, small business owners and the Coburns, employed by a company that produces magnetic strips for credit cards and his wife a payroll employees for a health-care company never would have guessed that their horse would be the favorite to win the Triple Crown for the first time in 36 years.

The New York Post described the upper-class dominance in sport, saying:

“Genetics, and money, is their religion. Thoroughbreds are suppose to cost millions; “top quality” studs cost $150,000 alone. Chrome is the $10,000 horse — the one that’s not suppose to compete.”

Instead California Chrome has gone on to win 6 of the most competitive runs in horseracing with ease. Fans are rooting for the underdog to complete the ending of his Cinderella story.


5. Skechers Signed California Chrome

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California Chrome arrives at Belmont Park on May 20, 2014 in Elmont, New York. (Getty)

The shoe brand Skechers will now be endorsed by California Chrome and flaunted by the horse this weekend at Belmont. The colt’s blanket, handlers and fly sheet have all been displaying the advertisements this week leading up to the race. Every member of the team is also required to wear the brand’s shoes, especially in the winner’s circle if California Chrome clinches the Triple Crown victory. The agreement permits California Chrome to represent Skechers for a month after the race. The footwear company is spending $175 million on marketing this year, estimating about $2.2 billion in sales in 2014.

Robert Greenberg, CEO of Skechers, told ESPN:

“We’re a marketing company that just happens to be in the footwear business. We’re spending a couple bucks to the roll the dice and if this horse wins it all, we’ll be part of it.”

The exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed, however according to close sources the contract is the biggest in the sport since IAEH Stables was paid by UPS to market their brand on Big Brown in 2008, before he failed to win the third leg of the Triple Crown.

Greenberg said in the interview:

“Nike is religion for a lot of kids, so it’s a tough market to break through. We’re going after an older audience.”


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