California Chrome, Kentucky Derby Winner: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

California Chrome, Victor Espinoza, Kentucky Derby

Victor Espinoza celebrates after riding California Chrome to victory. (Getty)

California Chrome entered the Kentucky Derby as a strong favorite and didn’t disappoint. The colt emerged down the home stretch to win the Derby in 2:03:66 in a performance that lived up to the hype that preceded it.

Here’s what you need to know about Chrome’s victory:

1. He Paid $7 to Win

Because he was such a heavy favorite, the betting payout on California Chrome was modest. He paid $7 to win, $5.60 to place and $4.20 to show.

The money was a lot better on longshot Commanding Curve, who paid a handsome $31.80 to place and $15.40 to show. Third-place finisher Danza, who entered the race with the third best odds to win at 9/1, paid $6 to show.

Chrome took home $1.2 million of the $2 million purse for the victory. Commanding Curve and Danza won $400,000 and $200,000 respectively, with fourth-place finisher Wicked Strong taking home $100,000.

California Chrome paid $7 to win, $5.60 to place and $4.20 to show. Commanding Curve, who finished second, paid $31.80 to place and $15.40 to show. Danza, who finished third, paid $6 to show.

Watch video above of Chrome galloping to victory.

2. He’s the First California-Bred Horse to Win the Derby in 52 Years

California Chrome


California Chrome’s owners made a big deal before the race of his anti-establishment credentials. He was touted as an outsider going up against Kentucky blue bloods loved by the Churchill Downs establishment.

While his status as a champion from the Golden State isn’t unprecedented, it is extremely rare

Chrome was the first Derby winner from California since Decidedly won it in 1962 with Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack riding him.

3. Favorites Usually Don’t Win

As SB Nation pointed out leading up to the Derby, no horse had won as a favorite at 3/1 odds or better since Big Brown in 2008.

But Chrome, who moved up to a 2/1 favorite by the time the race started, joined Big Brown and Co. on a list of favorites who didn’t disappoint.

4. Art Sherman is His Trainer

Art Sherman is the trainer for California Chrome and you can watch an interview with him about the race in the above video. His Kentucky Derby bio gives us some background on him:

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. Sherman became a jockey in 1957 and rode for over 20 years before becoming a trainer in 1980.

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

Sherman set a record with Chrome’s win. writes:

Starting from the fifth position as a 5-2 morning-line favorite, he aims to become the first California-bred Derby winner in 52 years and make Sherman, 77, the oldest winning trainer.

Sherman told after the race:

This has to be the sweetest moment of my life. To be my age and have something like this happen, what can you say?

5. Jockey Victor Espinoza Won His Second Derby

California Chrome’s jockey Victor Espinoza has won the Kentucky Derby before and he won from the 5th position, which is the same position California Chrome raced from today. Sherman told

Victor says he likes it. Says he won the Kentucky Derby from the five (on War Emblem in 2002). I’m happy and I feel no pressure.

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.

The fifth position has now produced more winners than any other spot, thanks largely to Espinoza.

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