‘A bonny horse who loves to race’
California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, crosses the finish line to win the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
May 6th, 2014
05:58 PM ET

‘A bonny horse who loves to race’

All too often we see a favorite endlessly hyped up before a race only to disappoint on the big day.

Well, that certainly was not the case in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

California Chrome, the flashy chestnut colt, was the focus of intense pre-race attention in the week leading up to the Derby not only because of his impressive credentials but also because of his story.

Everybody loves an underdog and this bargain basement horse, in the purple and green “DAP” silks with a green bucking donkey motif on the back, belonged to two regular guys enjoying their first foray into the complex world of horse breeding.

Photo by Felipe Barral

Steve Coburn and Perry Martin each bought a share in a relatively inexpensive filly racehorse, Love The Chase, who won one race in six starts.

When the partnership decided to cut their losses and sell the sweet but slow filly, Coburn and Martin opted to buy out their partners for a value of $8,000 and send her to the breeding barn.

Selecting a stallion to “cover” your mare is often a labor intensive, almost mathematic process depending on what type of horse you are trying to produce.

For reasons best known to them, the pair settled on Lucky Pulpit for a fee of $2,000, himself an adequate racehorse who never fulfilled his maximum potential due to illness.

Eleven months later, out came the foal that would come to be named California Chrome - the name was pulled out of a hat of suggestions made by the owners and their families. Seabisquik was also in the mix.

Photo by Felipe Barral

When they sent the horse, now a three-year-old, to veteran trainer Art Sherman, the rookie owner-breeders told the ex-jockey that this would be his Kentucky Derby winner.

To cut a long story short, under the watchful care of his veteran trainer, this bonny horse who loves to race progressed so well that he wound up an unlikely favorite for the most famous race in the world.

And then he won it.

Going back to the colors worn by his Mexican jockey Victor Espinoza, the DAP stands for Dumb Ass Partnerships - so named by Coburn and Martin when those around them said only a "dumb ass" would buy California Chrome's mother Love The Chase.

While it's probably not the classiest name around, it does prove that for all the money and time spent on trying to breed the perfect racehorse, sometimes it's just down to luck.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. rudolphfurtado

    On Saturday(17-5-2014) which is Sunday(18-5-2014) in Mumbai i was thrilled to hear that "California Chrome" won the "Preakness Stakes" although this time the lead was only 1 1/2 length. The great debate .Will "CALIFORNIA CHROME" do a hat-trick and win the "Belmont stakes" ? The World will be watching.

    May 18, 2014 at 6:50 am | Reply
  2. nancy bretzfield

    After reading this article, I love when the writer calls these two guys regular. That would suggest to me that the so called blue bloods of the racing world and for that matter everybody who has money and so called breeding is above these two wonderful partners. You know it is funny how the so called powers that be use to treat the Arabs when they first came to the great breeding ground of KY. They used to call them rag heads. Now look they own it all. You can never judge people because we are all human. And it takes all kinds to make up our world. Remember Money is not GOD.

    May 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Reply

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