Derby winner California Chrome heads to Preakness

Matt Slocum/APVictor Espinoza rides California Chrome to a victory during the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race on Saturday.

Matt Slocum/APVictor Espinoza rides California Chrome to a victory during the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Art Sherman has never had a big operation or wealthy clients who infused cash and horses into his stable.

But the 77-year-old trainer can now say he won the Kentucky Derby.

A day after California Chrome raced to a 1¾-length victory as the 5-2 favorite in the Derby, Sherman and his star horse received a stream of visitors at Churchill Downs.

“It’s pretty cool, I can tell you,” he said Sunday. “Beating all the big boys, and maybe they had their doubts that this horse wasn’t a runner, but when you run against him you find out. He’s the real McCoy, this one.”

Now the oldest trainer to win the Derby and his horse are headed to Baltimore for the Preakness in two weeks, the next step on the Triple Crown trail.

It will be Sherman’s first trip to Maryland since 1959, when he was a jockey at the old Bowie Race Course. He rode some races at Laurel during his 23 years in the saddle, but has never visited Pimlico.

Sherman plans to keep California Chrome at Churchill Downs before sending him to Baltimore, possibly on May 12.

“Five days at Pimlico would be perfect for me,” said Sherman, who will briefly return to his Southern California base, where he trains 20 horses. “That way I wouldn’t have to do much with him. Just school him, stand him in the gate and let him get familiarized with the surroundings.”

California Chrome appeared to bounce out of the 19-horse Derby in good order, leaving just a handful of grain in his feed tub after the race. Jockey Victor Espinoza said he eased the colt over the final 70 yards.

“He said he didn’t ask him for too much thinking about saving something for the next one, for the Preakness,” Sherman said, adding that his colt is “peaking now. He’s full of himself.”

Sherman typically likes to give his horses plenty of time off between races, but California Chrome’s owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin thinking big and talking bigger.

They’re not shy about saying their colt has the talent to win the Triple Crown.

“I told people this colt will go down in history,” said Coburn, the more talkative of the partners. “When he wins the Triple Crown, he will be the first California-bred to ever win a Triple Crown. That’s where we’re going.”

Of course, California Chrome will run in the Preakness with a target on him, the competition ripe to try and knock off the Derby champ. Already other horses are lining up to take him on.

Commanding Curve, the Derby runner-up, and seventh-place finisher Ride On Curlin could possibly show up in Baltimore, where the Preakness has a maximum field of 14.

The possible new shooters include Pablo Del Monte, whose owners decided not to run in the Derby; Federico Tesio winner Kid Cruz; Illinois Derby winner Dynamic Impact; Bayern, trained by Bob Baffert; and Social Inclusion, who ran third in the Wood Memorial.

Like his trainer, California Chrome typically stays close to home. The colt made his first trip out of state to run in the Derby. Sherman built a low-key but respected training operation first in the San Francisco Bay area and now in the Los Angeles area, but rarely travels outside the state to race.

Still, he and his horse impressed some of racing’s big-name trainers.

“I thought he reflected Art Sherman,” trainer Steve Asmussen said about California Chrome. “He wasn’t overwhelmed by the situation, did what he did and went about his business as usual and looked like a winner every step of the race. I would expect him to be able to be in the best shape in two weeks.”California ChromeKentucky DerbyOther SportsPreakness Stakes

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference about a $12 billion package bolstering the state’s response to the homelessness crisis at the Kearney Vista Apartments on May 11, 2021 in San Diego, California. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Newsom promises sweeping change in California’s $267-billion budget

John Myers Los Angeles Times California would embark on the most ambitious… Continue reading

Despite the pandemic, San Francisco has ended the fiscal year with a budget surplus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Better than expected tax revenues leave city with $157.3M surplus for this year

As the fiscal year nears an end and Mayor London Breed prepares… Continue reading

Passengers board a BART train bound for the San Francisco Airport at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART bumps up service restoration to August 30, offers fare discounts

Rail agency breaks pandemic ridership records, prepares to welcome more passengers

Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa hold a photo of their brother Sean Monterrosa, who was killed by a Vallejo police officer early Tuesday morning, as they are comforted at a memorial rally at the 24th Street Mission BART plaza on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
State Department of Justice to investigate Sean Monterrosa shooting by Vallejo police

Attorney General Rob Bonta steps in after Solano County DA declines case

Most Read