Haskin's Derby Report: Chrome Sweet Home

As predicted, California Chrome's arrival yesterday drew a large crowd, as did his first appearance on the track Tuesday morning. The son of Lucky Pulpit only jogged once around, but still made his presence felt, just by his demeanor and the way he handles himself. He appears to be a horse who knows what he's supposed to do and get it done at a time of his choosing. This is his first trip outside California, so he's been taking in this new and different environment. He's handsome, he's fast, and he has personality, and that adds up to big crowds wherever he goes.

One interesting note. If you're wondering why California Chrome wasn't wearing his Derby saddlecloth, they spelled his name wrong. He has a correct one now. 

All photos by Steve Haskin  


Quite a first look at California Chrome, as the handsome chestnut eyes his welcoming committee from the van.


He does have a presence about him.


Preparing to be led off the van. Look at the eye on this colt.


Surprise to all photographers. Chrome gets backed off the van. He has a tendency to lunge off, so they take precautionary measures.


After he's turned around, there is time for only one brief shot as he heads into the barn.


Chrome is fully charged and wants to do more as he is led off following his jog.


This is one handsome horse and he seems to know it.


Is that an aura beaming down on him?

97 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Lawton

He is definitely the one to beat it appears. I haven't felt this way about a horse winning the Derby since Big Brown. All he has to do is not regress while the other contenders have to move forward a lot to win this race. Short of a horse acting as a rabbit in this race and cooking most of the stalkers I just don't see him not winning unless he breaks terribly from the gate.

29 Apr 2014 12:43 PM
Coldfacts

Behold the California Comet, cometh. I must concede he is a gorgeous looking animal. What fanfare for the anti-post favorite for the Derby. His 19 likely opponents have no chance of winning by virtue of his arrival. The support for this colt has been overwhelming and deservedly so. However, I cannot help but feel that the history of the Kentucky Derby as it related to high profile contenders is being equally overwhelmingly ignored.

There was no bigger anti-post favorite in terms of share ability and dominance than Native Dancer. He carried an 11 race undefeated record to CD. His loss in the Derby would be the only one in his 22 race career.

CC has more credentials to win the Derby than most but is also more vulnerable than most based on Derby history. He has only one path to victory and that has been on display in his last four races. Many of the opponents he defeated in CA were left for dead by the time he covered 7F. Only two of those opponents will be opposing him on Saturday. He will therefore be facing a relatively new cast. Why do so many expect the outcome to be the same.

There are some horses in the hands of some very skilled, dangerous and experience trainers whose arrivals were not met with fanfare but are equally capable of winning the Derby. Add to the equation the fact Churchill Downs on the 1st Saturday in May has always proven to be an equalizer, no victory is assured for even the most beloved and talented of contenders.

If there is no respect for his 19 likely opponents, there should at least be respect for the history of the great race.

29 Apr 2014 12:45 PM
NCteacher

Goodness gracious, you get some great pics (especially his eye!) He is gorgeous...quickly becoming my favorite just on looks! Sure hope he takes to the track!

29 Apr 2014 12:55 PM
Windolin

Thank you Steve! Cali is the first horse in many years to win my heart the way he

has. What is there not to love about him his trainer, his owners and his story. Thank you for telling about him on that early Derby Dozen. You knew there was something special about him. Hope he wins and stays healthy. I feel in my heart that he is the "peoples" horse.

29 Apr 2014 1:00 PM
Quinnbit

Steve, thank you for sharing. Love your writing, so glad Damascus brought you to the sport.

Win lose or draw, California Chrome is what thoroughbred horse racing is all about.

Califor"ina"Chrome -Some "poetic justice" is surely forthcoming.

The caption on the bottom photo, perfect!

29 Apr 2014 1:01 PM
Alydar78

This is what I've been waiting for, thanks Steve!  

29 Apr 2014 1:04 PM
Bigtex

Steve

Would I be way off base to say Chrome, because of his physical stature + ability + results, is "pound for pound" the top rated horse for 3 year olds?

These pics reminded me of the pound for pound rankings that they use in the fight industry.  He's not the biggest, nor the smallest, nor the most muscular, but...

29 Apr 2014 1:09 PM
Floridabred

Outstanding !!!.

29 Apr 2014 1:09 PM
Ted from LA

That is one good looking third place finisher of the Kentucky Derby.

29 Apr 2014 1:11 PM
Bigtex

How'd he get over the track?

29 Apr 2014 1:12 PM
MonicaV

Wow, Wow and Wow!  Steve, I had a feeling this horse would be something special.  I saw the short video of him on the van and he was sooo cool and so calm just taking everything in as he looked.  He has an intelligent look about him.  Damn!  Look out!  Here comes the rock star!

29 Apr 2014 1:20 PM
Stones

Seems like an appropriate time to thank you for all of the hard work you performed on the Derby Trail, Steve.  This week at the track, close to the horses and taking such amazing photos must feel like a bit of a holiday for you.

"And they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining."

Chrome is a beaut, isn't he?  Here's hoping his talent shines on Saturday!

29 Apr 2014 1:23 PM
Randi

Thanks for the pictures.  He is so handsome.  Go California Chrome!

29 Apr 2014 1:29 PM
Donna Heim

He is absolutely gorgeous with personality plus.  Great that he loves people.  Best of luck in the Derby.

29 Apr 2014 1:31 PM
Judy G ~ CA

Steve ~

We've been feeling his "aura" each time we've watched his workouts at Los Alamitos. Yes, he is one cool, alert horse. I've been calling him a Rock Star for weeks. I don't use this phrase lightly! May the racing gods be good and get this awesome Cal bred to the wire first. Not just for us California "Chrome-ees" but for the sport!

29 Apr 2014 1:36 PM
The Deacon

Great pics Steve, I guess we will find out soon just how good this horse is. I for one believe he is special.

In horse racing nothing is guaranteed, more can go wrong then things can go right.

I hope he has a great trip, weather doesn't deter him and he stays healthy........

1. Cal Chrome

2. Hoppertunity

3. Wicked Strong

My picks..........  good luck to all

29 Apr 2014 1:39 PM
predict

Steve,

Thanks for the great pictures of California Chrome, he looks incredible. He seems to have that air about him in the pictures, that is similar to the way Zenyatta came across. It will probably take an incredible performance from one of the other horses to beat this guy. Did I say he looks incredible? I think unbeatable might be more appropiate.

29 Apr 2014 1:41 PM
Steve Haskin

I'm glad everyone is enjoying the photos. Lise, you may use whatever photos you wish.

29 Apr 2014 1:56 PM
kittybay

"I'm sexy and I know it..."

I love this horse, he's the real deal, a rock star. Good luck Chromio, safe trips to all.

29 Apr 2014 1:57 PM
Oldie

What a lovely animal.  Thank you for the pictures and prose, Steve.

29 Apr 2014 2:01 PM
Bigtex

Coldfacts

"Left for dead"..."no respect for the other 19 horses"...

For just the cold hard facts you, too, Oracle, can be quite the embellisher!

29 Apr 2014 2:27 PM
Bigtex

Steve, I would also like to share your pics.  Ok?

29 Apr 2014 2:30 PM
LanceS

On TVG the other day they showed video of the "incident" that led to Los Alamitos giving him his own training window.  There were three loose horses running around, riders chasing on ponies, people shouting, and Chrome just calmly stood there looking around.  When Mr. Sherman asked the rider to bring him over out of the way, he just calmly walked over as if nothing were going on.  This is one cool colt!  I have a feeling he'll do whatever Victor asks him to do.  Nothing that happens in the race will bother him, he won't panic, he doesn't need to be in any particular place or position.  As long as he can work his way into a decent spot entering the second turn he'll be all right.  Of course, we won't know how he'll handle the track or the 10 furlongs until it happens, but this colt just inspires confidence!

29 Apr 2014 2:32 PM
Hasty'smoosh

One more defection and one more speedball could be in....this horse looks great... I just think there are way too many stalking types that will be boxing a horse like this in.  Especially with the NASCAR mentality that this race has turned into with Pletchers contingent along with Maker and even Baffert.  You need the draw and the set up to win this race.  The first mile will go in 1:34 and then it's a test of stamina....Candy Boy and Commanding Curve for me!  Who wants 3 to 1 anyways??!!  Good luck and that's that.

29 Apr 2014 2:37 PM
Linda in Texas

They know their horse, "backed him out because he tends to lunge off"! I was wondering why and it looks like no rain on the big day. I would like to ask you, if i may, save the photos you take to/on my computer and date them for my Horse Album File. Not for publication, just my personal files.

California Chrome is so people oriented that he speaks volumes and never says a word and i know some will laugh and call me nuts, go ahead, I appreciate the compliment. The way he was raised is why. Read his story. I admire him no matter what happens Saturday,in fact i admire all of them, just saying that to appease those who disagree with me about CC and that's okay.

Thanks Steve for your great photos and editing of them.

29 Apr 2014 2:42 PM
Tommyboomer

Coldfacts: What is your problem people supporting this horse? It seems he's popular for the very reasons you doubt him. His pedigree doesn't really scream distance, at least up close and he's not owned/trained by the usual suspects.

You only need to look at Derby history to no that it hasn't been kind to favourites. There is problem a realistic 10-20% chance of him winning given unknown around the track, post position, weather, the break etc;

In my mind, he's still a big underdog and has a lot to prove. But he certainly hope he proves it to everyone.

29 Apr 2014 2:43 PM
PioneerCountry

Count me in - I'm a "Chromee" too. Great shots Steve-could I copy one to share on FB (photo credit given)?  I've been excited for his arrival & hope that he gets over the CD dirt well. Finally had a horse to get excited about after SA Derby.

29 Apr 2014 2:50 PM
It aint easy being good!

Chrome this chrome that chrome this chrome that! I guess 19 other horses are not running. Steve nice pictures but man this is crazy. he will be 9/5 by post time. I will take Pletcher/Baffert/Rasario/Borail/Johhny V. You can have the wonderboy! Good luck Chrome. First order of business surviving tomorrows post draw!

29 Apr 2014 2:54 PM
Mike Relva

Steve,thanks for the photos. He has amazing presence and awareness something like the great Cigar as well as a great female runner a few years back.

29 Apr 2014 3:08 PM
Mike Relva

Steve,thanks for the photos. He has amazing presence and awareness something like the great Cigar as well as a great female runner a few years back.

29 Apr 2014 3:08 PM
predict

question: What do California Chrome, Candy Boy, General a Rod, Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday, and Ride On Curlin have in common for this Kentucky Derby?

answer: they are all being ridden by a jockey that has won the Kentucky Derby. These six will constitute one of my Superfectas.

29 Apr 2014 3:12 PM
JenniferM1812

Great update and wonderful photos. He sure does have a presence. I love the pics of him looking out of the trailer at his crowd. Makes you wonder what he's thinking.  One thing for sure, though anything can happen in the Derby, my heart is with California Chrome all the way (to Belmont!).

29 Apr 2014 3:22 PM
Deltalady

He is just so easy to love!  Wow! Win, lose or draw, the journey with this horse has been one thrill after another. Thank goodness these horses don't know what's at stake.  Of course they pick up vibes from those around him, and he has to sense something bigger than usual, but it seems to just charge him up more, and his demeanor is one of a very confident horse. I have watched videos over and over of Sunday Silence in the post parade for the Breeders Cup Classic in 1989. Sunday entered the gate looking like it was all over before it started. He owned the race that day, just by his demeanor. He just exuded confidence, as does Chrome. Things can go wrong, and stuff happens, but I don't think Chrome needs a whole lot from the racing gods, I think he will make his own luck on Saturday. Wishing him and Art and all his connections a safe trip.

29 Apr 2014 3:26 PM
David G.

Love the socks. Hmmm. Now what other great thoroughbred had socks? Hmmmmm.

29 Apr 2014 3:33 PM
slee

Love the shots in the trailer….."who YOU looking at?"

let's hope for good weather, safe trips and an honest race for all!

29 Apr 2014 3:34 PM
MonicaV

I haven't heard anyone say the California Chrome was going to win the Derby and the other 19 horses have no respect, that it was a lock for CC.  Anybody who follows horse racing knows that there are no absolutes.  Anything can happen when the starting gate opens and 20 horses all storm out trying to get position.  I dont' think that it means you don't respect the rest of the horses when you admire one of them for his personality, looks and racing record.  People have favorites and people root for that favorite.  CC is a Cal-bred and it's been stated on this blog that he has no chance.  He is owned by working-class people who are staying in Frankfort because Louisville is too expensive for them.  People who own racehorses are either very wealthy or they are part of a big partnership because of the extraordinary expense of thoroughbred ownership.  These people are every-day working people who have a chance at a once-in-a-lifetime dream.  It is such a great story and good for this sport and I for one, am hoping their dream comes true because it would just feel great!  The horse is special, he has a certain personality and look but they all have a personality but his is a little different and he is gorgeous to look at but then I have always felt that every thoroughbred is beautiful.  I hope he does win but if he doesn't, life goes on and I will still follow this horse wherever he goes to race.  He's done a lot for California racing and I hope he does more for the entire sport.

29 Apr 2014 3:42 PM
smarie

This horse is simply magnificent. I have always loved chestnuts; that dates back to Secretariat

It is so nice to have another horse that stirs people's emotions. I love them all, but once in a while, a horse comes along like California Chrome that has that certain extra something that people identify with. I think it helps that he didn't come from a mega stable and doesn't have ultra wealthy connections. HIs story is for those of us who don't have deep pockets and dream of having a horse like this ourselves.

I wish CC and all the horses and jocks a safe trip in both the Oaks and the Derby. God speed!

29 Apr 2014 4:23 PM
trackjack

Thanks Steve for this labor of love from the backside and all your hard work bringing us down this Derby trail.  As much as I search for video, your pics give me more of what I'm looking for.  These shots bring us right into the muddy backside.

Junior is certainly the best looking kid on the shedrow.  Just ask him, I'll bet he'll tell you.

With four days to go we know that anything can happen, especially when the gate opens on Saturday.  The draw tomorrow, then the tension mounts.  Looks like the racing gods will bestow a beautiful day.   I haven't felt this confident of a winner since Street Sense and then Riva Ridge in '72.  Hope all stay healthy and safe and may "the sun shine bright on that California Chrome."

29 Apr 2014 4:29 PM
Freetex

Oh my.  He looks like he is contemplating the whole scenario.

What a beauty.  What great photos!!

29 Apr 2014 4:29 PM
threedog

Thanks Steve! My favorite week of the year and your contributions make it so. It looks like I'll put Cal Chrome & Candy Boy on top and under Medal Count, Ride on Curlin,Hoppertunity,Intense Holiday for exactas - as well as box Chrome & Candy of course. Maybe try to mix those up for some trifecta bets. I'm thinking Chrome can make his own pace and should be there at the end.

29 Apr 2014 4:32 PM
BourbonCountyGal

He recognizes you as his most influential fan who first made me pay attention to his talent instead of his gorgeous good looks.  He is looking right at you.

29 Apr 2014 4:33 PM
Carlos in Cali

Did he "announce his presence" once he got to the track?..

29 Apr 2014 4:52 PM
trackjack

Jay Jay--

and anyone else who has not been to a Derby.  You have to do it once.  It doesn't have to cost a leg and a hoof.  There is nothing like it.  And Jay Jay, getting a backstretch pass during Derby week can be very difficult, but if you want to help someone else out, Ted from LA is always looking for someone to carry his stuff.  

29 Apr 2014 5:11 PM
Giddyup

Thoroughbred racing has been in a bit of a lull since Zenyatta left the track but CC has the potential to generate much renewed excitement for the sport (especially if he scores a Derby win)and I think any real race fan would welcome that.

29 Apr 2014 5:44 PM
Bays are Best

Chrome is such a cool horse.  Of course there are no guarantees he will win but he has the best foundation and the most consistent to get the job done.

29 Apr 2014 6:21 PM
Post Time

Steve Thank you for the wonderful photos. Us Californians couldnt be any happier for a horse representing a class outfit.

29 Apr 2014 6:22 PM
covelane

Great pics!!  I just LOVE this horse! Can you say 'charisma'.  :)) I have not been this excited about a horse in forever.  ...as in the 1970's. It will he such fun if he comes through on Saturday!    

29 Apr 2014 7:35 PM
covelane

Great pics!!  I just LOVE this horse! Can you say 'charisma'.  :)) I have not been this excited about a horse in forever.  ...as in the 1970's. It will he such fun if he comes through on Saturday!    

29 Apr 2014 7:41 PM
Davids

Steve, California Chrome appears so calm that nothing seems to phase him. Going through the pedigree you would presume this May have come from Caro. Having a temperament like this, while $150,000 excitable people are surrounding you, is a very desirable weapon.

Beautiful photos Steve, and the aura caption may well ring true.  

29 Apr 2014 8:03 PM
Paula Higgins

These are great pictures Steve! He does look like Mr. Perfect and Mr. Personality all rolled up in one. I am really hoping this personality boy can do it for his connections and all of his fans. Yes Coldfacts, everything you said is right. But he may be able to overcome all that and there is nothing wrong with hoping he can. He certainly has the ability if he gets a decent break at the start and he likes the surface. The stalkers worry me and there are several. The closers not so much because I don't think any of them have the speed to catch CC once he is on a roll. I am going with Deacon's picks (with a switch in second and third) because I think they are well informed picks:

California Chrome

Wicked Strong

Hoppertunity

Samaraat

I still like Samraat too and think he could end up third.

Ted from LA , you are funny, but you are also a cynic. C'mom believe.

29 Apr 2014 8:14 PM
prudofrompuertorico

I have been around horses since I was 4yo, his message is loud and clear,"I AM THE ONE" don't mess up with me.

Excellent Photos!!!

29 Apr 2014 8:24 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Steve, these photos are priceless.  What a looker he is!  Wow.  He seems to have a great mental awareness about him.  Well, if he did not get flustered with loose horses tearing around Los Al, then chances are he won't get flustered in a 20 horse field either.  

I love the arrivals at Churchill.  To me it's like dignitaries and kings arriving, befitting for our Sport of Kings.  Louisville,roll out the red carpet for this chestnut rock star!  All he must do now is like the Churchill surface.

I really like Danza's look and fluid movements on the track there as well.  This really puts me smack in the middle of being torn between the two chestnuts.

29 Apr 2014 8:32 PM
robinm

Steve;  thanks so much for the comments and photos.  He is a very handsome colt and very well put-together.  In particular, he has an awesome shoulder.  And you can't help but be impressed by the look in his eye.  He just oozes confidence.

29 Apr 2014 8:46 PM
Racingfan

Thanks Steve for the insights and the beautiful pictures.  You have the best job!  By the way, no final Derby Dozen this week?  I keep checking and nothing...

MonicaV - well said!

29 Apr 2014 9:02 PM
BelmontBarb

Good Evening to you Steve ~

and

Yes, This is a very "handsome horse" and very much impressive....a nice looking colt with perfect stature and mild manner presentation demonstrating intelligence without behavioral issues.  Not only is he responsive but he is reserved and even cautious - "just look at his eye" and you know he is sharp and self-contained, quiet and he "ain't no-bodys'fool".  "The Chrome" is an "aura" and is enlightening the Derby with expectation and excitement and certainly the glamour ~ he is a reminder of what we have been missing in the industry and what we need to restore.  "The Chrome" has done all the work and the marketing for the Derby; he has already won the crowd..

"The Chrome" photo album Steve is a visual victory and a sincere source of your devotion to your work.

Many Thanks

29 Apr 2014 9:34 PM
Intothebridle

Great photos! Maddening race with twenty horses but these good ones tend to find a way to overcome all the pitfalls. Still, must get away from the gate well and have a clean run into the first turn, then have a chance to be turned loose at the quarter pole from a nice stalking position. Could be a sight to behold and distance does not look to be an issue given he was geared down at 1 1/8, plus he is loaded with back class distance pedigree. The industry needs a shot in the arm and this handsome boy could become a marketing dream.

29 Apr 2014 10:00 PM
JayJay

Coldfacts :   Can you please re-post where you read that there are no respect for the 19 other contenders ?   I seem to have missed it...

Ted From LA : Hehe, that was a good post.  

trackjack : Yeah, I plan on it, and it will most likely be next year.  If I have to Motel6 it, I will.  I want to spend a full week over there and also visit Zenyatta.  It might be harder to see Zenyatta than get a press pass during derby week lol.

Chrome (or Junior) is one cool customer.  I like the fact that the's not getting fazed by all the attention and the people which makes a big difference on Derby day.  If he's as cool on Derby Day as he is when he arrived, he'll already have a big advantage.  We still have to see how he reacts with 19 other gates opening and a herd of horses starts running and more importantly, the post position draw.  He's one that I will happily let beat me, if he beats the field the way he beats 'em in California... he will most likely be the next Triple Crown winner, don't care what kind of pedigree he has.

I like that Joe Rocco ended up with the mount on Vinceremos, I think it's a good fit and he's got the right style for Vinceremos.

Kentucky Oaks :   I'm playing Untappable and Kiss Moon, Fashion Plate, My Miss Sophia and Ria Antonia for the tri and super.  I can't see Untappable working too hard to beat this field, she's just too good I think.    I'll probably box the exactas and a small ticket with Espinoza and Smith on top of Untappable, Fashion Plate and My Miss Sophia for the .20 superfecta.

29 Apr 2014 10:08 PM
sysonby

Not so quick with the coronation.....Baffert will send Chitu to force a suicide pace...Picking up the pieces will be Hopportunity...Take another look at the SA Derby, Smith did not empty the tank with Hopp, saving him for KY

29 Apr 2014 10:24 PM
Ted from LA

trackjack, you're killing me.  I trust you most of all.  I didn't see you as a California Chrome backer. He could very well be a monster, but Hoppertunity still has my backing.  His Santa Anita Derby was less than a workout.  Where is Sherpa when I need him?  Good memory too amigo.

29 Apr 2014 10:36 PM
GhostTown

They spelled his name wrong?  Welcome to Churchill Downs!

29 Apr 2014 11:11 PM
lorraine

I really enjoyed looking at the photos of CC.  These are beautiful photos and they make me even more emotional about CC and his chances of winning the KD, or dare I say, the TC??  But I agree with comments from others about his chances because too many highly regarded horses have faltered in the Derby and I'm hoping this doesn't happen with this horse.  He seems very intelligent and that helps a lot I think with his ability to handle things, ie., the crowds, and all the hoopla surrounding the race.  I love racehorses and get very emotional and I just pray the day will be sunny and nice (although I'm afraid this chestnut is not going to be as lucky) but a great horse can run over a muddy track, right?  Even though Easy Goer lost.  I just wish him well, I hope he draws a favorable post position and I wish everyone Friday and Saturday a safe trip.  I read somewhere when they were talking about (of all horses) Swaps, and it said "there is nothing like a chestnut horse running down the stretch", the fact they were talking about Swaps, (knock wood???) but it's true.  I'm rooting for you CC and when he steps on the track and that song plays, OMG.  Best of luck to CC and his connections. Again, beautiful photos.

29 Apr 2014 11:11 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

I hope California Chrome gets a good post position.

29 Apr 2014 11:31 PM
The Deacon

Coldfacts:  You sure are a piece of work. You and Draynay can sure ruin a party moment. Please go away........

29 Apr 2014 11:31 PM
Bloodline Bob

I'm NOT a Chrome fan. I think he will be 4th place at best. Can someone tell me when was the last California-bred won the Ky. Derby? Secondly, what was the lowest stud fee of a Ky. Derby winner in the last 25 years? Lucky Pulpit's stud fee is only $2,500. Would that be the lowest in the last 25 yrs.?

30 Apr 2014 12:25 AM
Bloodline Bob

Here are the stud fee's for the past 13 sire's of the Ky. Derby winners since 2001: 2001=$12,500; 2002=$7,500; 2003=$20,000; 2004=$50,000; 2005=$15,000; 2006=$100,000; 2007=$50,000; 2008=$22,000; 2009=$30,000; 2010=$12,500; 2011=$22,500; 2012=$20,000; 2013=$95,000. California Chrome's sire Lucky Pulpit's stud fee is currently $2,500. IF he wins, of course it will rise.

30 Apr 2014 12:50 AM
Scott's Rail

Damn! I have been wanting to leave, toss, eradicate this horse from all my win, exacta, tri, super tics.  But I just can't.  No East Coast bias here. 3rd generation Californian,(no easy feat).  If I do, I'm afraid my "account" might not have the right "numbers".

30 Apr 2014 1:25 AM
Coldfacts

The Deacon,

I am officially gone.

30 Apr 2014 1:39 AM
Delrene

There he is. Thank you for the lovely pictures of this handsome colt.  He does have a presence about him.  Delighted to see so much interest in him and the Derby in general.  We certainly do need a hero in the thoroughbred racing business and he sure fills the bill.  I hope for safe trips for all at Churchill Downs and I know all 20 of these gorgeous thoroughbreds have wonderful background stories and hope we read  more of them.  It is so interesting and heartwarming.    Thank you Steve for your wonderful coverage of CC ( misspelled ) blanket and all!   He is the real deal.

30 Apr 2014 1:44 AM
Coldfacts

JayJay,

The various comments suggesting that CC just has to turn up at Churchill Downs and a Derby victory is assured infer there is no neither respect nor regard for his opponents.  See an example below:

“So as long as California Chrome draws an outside post position, I agree that the Derby is his race to lose.”

The only thing likely to stop CC from winning the Derby is an unfavorable draw. Wow! I guess the emergency vehicle is the only moving object that would be capable of defeating from a favorable draw.

Disrespect of CC’s opponents has been repeatedly highlighted in numerous posts though not in direct statements.

30 Apr 2014 1:54 AM
Coldfacts

I have seen some other shots of CC and he looks very light in the hind quarters. He looked much bigger in his races. I was expecting to see more muscle mass in the engine room. On looks Hopportunity and Candy Boy are stand outs.

30 Apr 2014 2:26 AM
Tana Rae

Hi Steve!  Fantastic shots of Chrome.  You, I think, are under the spell as many of us are and have been for awhile.  What to make of him?  I think your photos speak for themselves.  If he gets beat this Saturday, if will not be for lack of trying.  But rather, for having a target on his back by 19 other riders who will be trying to win the race of their lifetime and by beating him.   Thank goodness, he doesn't know that.  Safe trips to all in an overcrowded starting gate.  

30 Apr 2014 2:39 AM
Deltalady

Sysonby: I don't know if you missed it in the San Felipe, but Junior took a flyer out of the gate and Victor coaxed him to take his time to get settled in his rhythm.  When Hawk came up to him and tried to dictate the pace, Junior would have none of it.  He ran his race, in spite of being pressed by Hawk, and you saw what happened.  Junior had plenty in the tank to draw away convincingly by 5+ lengths.  I don't think a hot pace or slow pace will make one bit of difference with this horse.  He will be the boss, he will run his race, and he won't be suckered into a speed duel.  He has shown he can stalk, he can lead, he can come from off the pace, and win. The biggest thing in his favor is he listens to his jockey!  This is one very versatile horse.  JMHO

30 Apr 2014 8:36 AM
Max Figueredo

Well said COLDFACTS!!! The Derby winner has to handle the dirt, maybe an off-track, over a mile and a quarter and dispose of 19 likely contenders.  Not an easy task.

My recollection of the Derby is that most of the time it's not won by the favorite or the best horse, but the one that has the best trip.

30 Apr 2014 9:23 AM
Bigtex

I don't think Chitu's owners would appreciate Baffert sending him out as Hoppertunity's rabbit!  

30 Apr 2014 9:43 AM
MonicaV

Jay Jay,

I hope you do go to Kentucky and visit the horses! It's so much fun.  I was lucky enough to visit Secretariat, Slew, Aladar, the ill-fated Ferdinand, Spectacular Bid, Mr. Prospector, Najinksy, Nuryev and Damascus who had the most beautiful eyes on a horse that I have ever seen.  It is unbelievable to know you are standing next to some of the greatest horses to ever run.  It's a Horse Lover's dream come true.

I follow the TC every year.  There have only been a few that I have felt real excitement about.  I was totally behind IHA and heartbroken when he came up injured.  The one before that was Smarty Jones who was very special.  Sunday Silence was another one.  This year I am looking forward to seeing CC and what he does.  As I have stated before, I am a hopeless romantic and what has more romance than the KD?  I am hoping that he will take us on a magical journey this spring.  That doesn't mean I don't respect the other horses.  They are all beautiful and I want each and every one to stay sound through this series and the rest of their race careers.  I have a special place in my heart for ROC. He's a Curlin baby and he was one of my favorites as well.  Here's to the 20 horses to run on Saturday, God bless them and keep them well.

30 Apr 2014 10:27 AM
Smoking Baby

How exactly does covering the Derby favorite equate to disrespect for the other 19 horses?  California Chrome isn't getting any more attention than the early favorite in any other year.  His fans seem well aware of the roadblocks in the way of his Derby hopes and have tempered their enthusiasm in something that resembles reality.  

Not long ago an impressive allowance winner was being rammed down our throats as the next Triple Crown winner. No one seemed too bothered by that so why the rawness over buzz for a horse that's actually earned it?

For what it's worth the Smoking Baby super remains:

California Chrome

Ride On Curlin

Candy Boy

Wicked Strong

....with Intense Holiday as my Bud Longshot.

30 Apr 2014 10:42 AM
Mike Relva

Carlos

Actually he didn't have too,it's there on display. lol

30 Apr 2014 11:01 AM
Mike Relva

Deacon

Hey! If only they would go away. Seems like this movie is really overplayed. Saw it before,didn't like it the first time,still don't.

30 Apr 2014 11:05 AM
Forbidden Apple

I'm looking forward to the moment when California Chrome looks a faster horse in the eye. I think Wildcat Red is going to be a stubborn foe for California Chrome, the likely 9/5 or 2-1 favorite. Who else is going to be part of the contested early pace? If the #21 or #22 horses get in, the pace will be out of control. Either way I believe the race will set up for a closer like Candy Boy or Dance With Fate.

1)Candy Boy 2)Wildcat Red 3)California Chrome 4)Dance With Fate 5)Hoppertunity 6)Wicked Strong 7)General A Rod 8)Danza

30 Apr 2014 12:16 PM
Alydar78

Bloodline Bob,

Lucky Pulpit's stud fee has already risen.  Listed as Private, but I heard that it's up to $10,000.  In that case, you listed a lower stud fee of the winner in 2002, which would have been to breed to Our Emblem.  Who rode the winner that year?  Oh, Victor Espinoza.

30 Apr 2014 1:39 PM
Carlos in Cali

Oh,man!

I'll let the horse's performance speak for itself just so his detractors could finally shut the @#$!-up! with all the nonsense,like:  Cal-bred this,Hoppertunity was "working out",wait until he faces "real speed"...

30 Apr 2014 1:51 PM
Jean in Chicago

Paula,

Give Ted from LA a break.  He's been listening to Bob from Boston and has fixated on Hoppertunity ('the Hopper') and Wicked Strong.

Once again, thank you, Steve.  Your photos are far and away the best at giving us a look at the 'real' horse.

30 Apr 2014 1:52 PM
Mike Relva

BloodlineBob

Good luck with that,his race to lose providing he has a decent post.

30 Apr 2014 1:57 PM
Mike Relva

ColdFacts

The ONLY factor in his way is a bad post or health issue.

30 Apr 2014 1:59 PM
Johnny

Interesting Coldfact:

Horses that have the most points going into the Derby are undefeated..

Good Luck to all

30 Apr 2014 6:30 PM
Mike Relva

Steve,what's your opinion on the post CC drew?

30 Apr 2014 7:19 PM
Slew

He looks sooooo good, and I'm not a real fan of chestnut horses. BUT, I am a California Chrome fan. After watching his Santa Anita victory, I found him most impressive. To learn he's a work horse, who does what needs to be done reminds me of Citation. To see him demolish the competition reminds me of Slew. And watching him debark backwards reminds me of me and Wiley Coyote...here's hoping he's more graceful. And the coloring...Secretariat and Affirmed...and Alydar...and Point Given. He drew a decent post #5.

Reflecting on the last 4 TC winners, in the Derby, Affirmed bested 10 (including the intrepid Alydar), the Slew blew off 14, Secretariat took on 12, and Citation led 5 others. It seems to me that a field of 20 is too great for a track that can support only 18 at the most. Breeders' Cup limits fields to 14. I think it will be next to impossible to see another TC winner as long as the field remains at 20. To me, that's just greed.

At any rate....GO CHROME!

30 Apr 2014 8:10 PM
Slew

ps: Coldfacts...I've noticed that you keep referring to these pre-derby days as "anti-Derby". Please be aware the term is "ante-derby" which means before the derby just as antebellum refers to a period before the Civil War. Anti-derby, however, means against the derby as being opposed to the derby.

30 Apr 2014 8:16 PM
Paula Higgins

O.K. Jean from Chicago I will give Ted from LA a break. But you are right, Bob from Boston has way too much influence over him. I really hope he is wrong about CC. I am a little worried that CC isn't totally acclimated yet. I need to quit worrying sigh.

30 Apr 2014 11:14 PM
ksweatman9

Bloodline Bob, You can't decide the winner of this race on stud fees and place of conception. The derby is a horse of a different color, not like any other. EVERY pony who makes the starting gate, has a chance at the roses. That being said, there is a first time for everything. California Chrome wouldn't be the first from that state to be a derby winner. I don't see why it's so far fetched. I wish them luck, one and all. Also, history tells us that many race fans have to eat their words following the first Saturday in May.

01 May 2014 12:02 AM
JayJay

Coldfacts : "Not in direct statements"... that's the difference there.   I've seen other people post similar comments about their horses, doesn't that mean they're disrespecting the other 19 including Chrome ?  You picking Wicked Strong and Medal Count... does that mean you're disrespecting 18 other horses ?  I get your point but to say that only Chrome fans are guilty of it is not a fact.

MonicaV : Yes, I plan on it... if you have any connections to let me see Zenyatta, I will be forever in your debt ! :)

01 May 2014 1:11 AM
Lise from Maine

Hi!

What a cutie!

He has such a wonderful personality - a high curiosity level.

Thank you for sharing the photos.

Lise from Maine

01 May 2014 7:06 AM
Coldfacts

Smoking Baby,

“How exactly does covering the Derby favorite equate to disrespect for the other 19 horses?”

The coverage for the anticipated favorite for the Derby is above normal but my post did not focus on that. I did not see this level of fanfare for the undefeated Smarty Jones, Barabo and Big Brown.

My post was directed to those whose posts reflected disregard/disrespect for CC’s 19  opponents. I am sure you have seen some of the over the top posts. Below is an example:

“His race to lose providing he has a decent post.”

Wow! He will be racing against the clock only with a favorable post. The only movable object that can possibly defeat him is the emergency vehicle. He is so superior only a bad post or human error can deny him wearing the roses.  

Do you regard the above as reflecting total disregard/disrespect for the 19 other horses in the field? I can cite many other examples but the above is the most recent and certainly makes my point.

Mike Relva,

“The ONLY factor in his way is a bad post or health issue.”

His 19 opponents are none factors. Wow! He is Fila Mignon and they are Chopped Liver. A classic example of disrespect. It is not surprising as your disrespect for equines is similar to that for humans. Your endorsement of the posts below serves as an indictment.

Deacon

“Coldfacts:  You sure are a piece of work. You and Draynay can sure ruin a party moment. Please go away”

Mike Relva

Hey! If only they would go away. Seems like this movie is really overplayed. Saw it before, didn't like it the first time, still don't.

There is clearly very little tolerance for the views of some and Deacon and Mike Relva have the audacity to advise those with opposing views to go away. Well I have the audacity to advise you both to grow up and conduct yourselves as adult.  

The absence of tact is worse than the absence of social graces.

Slew,

I am not as good a student of English as you are and I appreciate the correction in the usage of anti versus  ante. I have been using the term anti-post favorite for a very long time. I assumed readers would recognized its incorrectness as prefix but would also realize the ‘anti’ portion of the term come from the word ‘anticipated.’ Going forward I will endeavor to use the full description i.e., anticipated favorite instead of the abbreviate form. One Love.

01 May 2014 9:01 AM
Coldfacts

Bigtex,

“Left for dead”

If you are of the opinion that the above phrase cited in my post represents disrespect then it is a sad day for phrases. I use many phrases in my posts and they are not intended to disrespect but rather to enhance descriptions. Examples below:

He was passed like he was glued to the ground.

He has been repeatedly beaten like a rented mule.

Try to keep phrase usage in context and refrain from twisting them to score points.

01 May 2014 9:02 AM
MonicaV

Sysonby,

CC is one cool customer.  He won't be trying to keep up with a rabbit.  He knows what to do and he is relaxed until he turns for home and kicks it in.

01 May 2014 10:17 AM
Smoking Baby

Coldfacts.  Thank you for acknowledging my post in your 9:01 AM reply.  I have a lot of respect for you, your love of the game and appreciation for it's history.  I'm hoping we can simply agree to disagree on this one as I don't think California Chrome is getting any more coverage that Smarty Jones, Barbaro or Big Brown.  He's certainly not getting any  more than Uncle Mo, Verrazano or even Social Inclusion did for a couple weeks there.  I submit that it's at least possible that the coverage for these favorites has been about the same but because he's not your guy (for whatever reason) the coverage California Chrome's been getting rubs wrong/annoys and because of that SEEMS excessive.

I do agree that so many things can go wrong (including just not feeling like running on a given day) that it's all but crazy to declare any horse a winner just for showing up. This phenomenon has certainly not been exclusive to California Chrome though.  Uncle Mo comes to mind as does Union Rags and let's not forget that "Beast From The East" Quality Road nonsense I had to endure.  I guess my real point is that the fans of any horse or team that we don't like can often annoy.  I often have to remind myself that it would be boring if all of us liked the same foods, teams, horses, color, car.....You get the point.

Said it before but I'll say it again.  LOVE your stuff.  NEVER stop posting regardless of those who disagree with you.

01 May 2014 12:43 PM
Randi

California Chrome was awesome.  Showed them all!!

04 May 2014 3:09 AM

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