California Chrome's Connections Also Dreamed of Breeders' Cup From the Start

Throughout dual-classic winner California Chrome’s run through the Triple Crown races this season, Steve Coburn, the colt’s co-owner and co-breeder along with Perry Martin, talked about how they felt like they had a classic winner, and perhaps a Triple Crown winner, from the start.

California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) before finishing in a dead-heat for fourth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). While Coburn said they had Triple Crown dreams from the start, the partners also were thinking about the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for their foal.

There’s evidence of that early Breeders’ Cup dream. Perry Martin fully nominated California-bred California Chrome to the Breeders’ Cup, an extra investment of $500 (that also was the first year of a $100 deduction for registering online) for the first foal out of the Not For Love mare, Love the Chase.

Considering they had only $10,500 into the new foal as they paid $8,000 for Love the Chase and a $2,500 stud fee to send her to Lucky Pulpit, another $500 marked a sizeable commitment for the mare’s first foal. But that payment has proven wise. California Chrome is fully eligible for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) or any other Breeders’ Cup race this year--or any other year--the son of Lucky Pulpit races.

Back in training at Los Alamitos Racecourse, California Chrome’s next start has not been announced but two of the races being considered by Art Sherman are the Los Alamitos Mile Sept. 20 or the Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) Sept 27 at Santa Anita Park, which is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race to the Classic.

Californian Chrome - Anne M. Eberhardt Photo

Opportunity for 3-year-olds

After an off-the-board finish by Palace Malice in the Whitney Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 2 at Saratoga Race Course and an unsettled handicap division on the West Coast, the Classic could be ripe for one of this year’s 3-year-olds. Leading the way at this point in terms of Classic possibilities are California Chrome, Belmont winner Tonalist, William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) winner Bayern, last year’s champion 2-year-old male Shared Belief, and Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) winner Wicked Strong.

Any of those top 3-year-olds or perhaps a party crasher will try to become the 10th 3-year-old to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will return to Santa Anita Park this season. California Chrome and Tonalist will try to join Sunday Silence, Unbridled, A.P. Indy, and Curlin as the only U.S. classic winners to take the Breeders’ Cup Classic in their 3-year-old season.

When Tiznow won the Classic in 2000, he was the seventh 3-year-old to win the race since its 1984 debut, but just two sophomores have won the race since then. Since 2001, the only U.S.-based 3-year-old to win the Classic is Curlin in 2007. European-based Raven’s Pass won the Classic in 2008 at age 3.

A look at how each of the 3-year-olds to win the Classic came into the race serves as reminder that sophomores have found Classic success after a wide variety of campaigns.

Raven’s Pass, 2008 at Santa Anita Park: Raven’s Pass entered off victories in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) and the Totesport Celebration Mile Stakes (Eng-II) at Goodwood. All seven of his 2008 races in Europe before the Classic were at one mile on the turf. The 1 ¼-mile race on the then synthetic surface at Santa Anita marked the longest race of his career.

Curlin, 2007 at Monmouth Park: Like Unbridled and Sunday Silence, Curlin raced in all three legs of the Triple Crown in his 3-year-old season. The Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner received nearly a two-month rest after his narrow loss to Rags to Riches in the Belmont before coming back Aug. 5 with a third-place finish in the Haskell before a victory in the 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) Sept. 29 at Belmont Park.

2007 Breeders' Cup Winner Curlin - Jeffrey Snyder Photo

Tiznow, 2000, Churchill Downs: As he didn’t win his first career race until May 31, Tiznow didn’t compete in the Triple Crown races. The son of Cee’s Tizzy prepared for the first of his two Breeders’ Cup Classic victories with a steady 3-year-old campaign. He raced eight times from April 22 to Oct. 15, defeating older horses in the Oct. 15 Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita before winning the Classic Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.

Cat Thief, 1999, Gulfstream Park: Remarkably, in Cat Thief’s first 11 starts as a 3-year-old he failed to win a single stakes race. But his 12th start of the season proved to be a good time for his first stakes win of 1999 as he scored a clear victory in the Classic at Gulfstream Park. In the spring, the son of Storm Cat started in the Preakness and the Derby, where he finished third. He entered off a third in the Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap (gr. II) Sept. 25 at Turfway Park.

Concern, 1994, Churchill Downs: In the Triple Crown season, the only classic start for Concern was the Preakness, where he finished third. His first start against older horses came in the Classic but a season that saw the son of Broad Brush start 13 times before his Breeders' Cup Classic win gave him plenty of experience.

A.P. Indy, 1992, Gulfstream Park: After his clear victory in the Belmont Stakes, A.P. Indy didn’t start again until the Sept. 13 Molson Export Million Stakes (Can-II) where he finished off the board against other 3-year-olds. He then faced older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, where he finished third, but three weeks later he would cap his career with the two-length Classic win. A.P. Indy is the only Belmont winner to win the Classic at age 3.

Unbridled, 1990, Belmont Park: Derby winner Unbridled closed out the Triple Crown season with a runner-up finish in the Preakness and a fourth in the Belmont. After more than two months rest, he would return with an allowance win at Arlington Park on Aug. 18 followed by two September starts: a runner-up finish in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) on the turf at Arlington and a second-place finish in the Super Derby.

Sunday Silence, 1989, Gulfstream Park: Like California Chrome, Sunday Silence won the first two legs of the Triple Crown. He then finished second to Easy Goer in the Belmont but would turn the tables on that rival in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. While Sunday Silence would return about six weeks after the Belmont with a runner-up finish in the Swaps Stakes (gr. II), he would then receive two months off before winning the Super Derby about five weeks before his Classic score.

1989 Breeders' Cup Classic Winner Sunday Silence - Tony Leonard Photo

Proud Truth, 1985, Aqueduct: Proud Truth had what amounted to a split season in 1985. Off the board in the Derby, he raced eight times in the winter and spring of his 3-year-old season, capped with a win in the May 26 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont. The son of Graustark didn’t race again until a pair of October wins, including a score in the 1 1/8-mile Discovery Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct just one week before the Classic there.

This week’s Challenge races

The schedule of Breeders’ Cup Challenge races emphasizes turf events this weekend with the Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT) and the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) Aug. 16 at Arlington Park, which are “Win and You’re In” races for the Turf (gr. IT) and Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT), respectively; as well as the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville, which awards a spot in the Mile (gr. IT).

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Automatic Bids Earned Through Challenge Wins


Leave a Comment:

dance with fate

Thank you for this timely review of 3-year-old winners of the BCC.  Great photos - wish there were more.  California Chrome looks awesome!

12 Aug 2014 4:19 PM
Ken Broadwater

Raven's Pass ran 8 times as 3-y-o, not three times as stated in the article.

12 Aug 2014 4:39 PM
Rachel best 3 yr old filly ever

Like I have stated before, this is the best bunch of 3 yr olds since 2007. CC, Shared Belief, Tonalist, Wicked Strong, and Bayern. Any one of them can win the Classic this year. I sure hope it is CC though!!!!!!!  

12 Aug 2014 5:13 PM

I believe an older horse is going to win this year's California Cup Classic.

12 Aug 2014 5:57 PM
Eric Rickard

A P Indy lost a shoe out of the gate, I believe he made up 16 lengths. This crop of 3 year olds does look good. Chrome and shared belief seem to be the leaders.

12 Aug 2014 7:03 PM
Proud Acres

Come on California Chrome, you can do it!  I'm going to be there to cheer you on in person!  Go Chrome

12 Aug 2014 7:09 PM

raven's pass ran 8 times from april to october, you did mean to say that he won 3 of those eight times?

12 Aug 2014 7:44 PM

Interesting that the Derby/Preakness winner may be running in an ungraded race next month.  The Pacific Classic is right around that time too.  Can anyone say "cowardly"?   LOL  

12 Aug 2014 9:23 PM
Arch the phoneman

Do they still run the California Cup? There would be at least eight(8) horses I would pick ahead of Chrome in the Breeders Cup Classic.

12 Aug 2014 11:25 PM
Pedigree Ann

Racingfan, to run a horse coming off of a layoff, especially one for an injury, in a competitive G1 10f race is nothing short of criminal in my book. It ruined the careers of Repent, Bellamy Road, and Orb. Chrome is in no shape at this point to take on such a task - he just started breezing again, for goodness sake! Horses aren't machines that you just turn to on after you replace a damaged part. Fitness must be regained over a period of time.

13 Aug 2014 4:22 AM

PedigreeAnn - no need for you to correct me.  It was a joke (hence the LOL) based off Mr Coburn's coward statement at Belmont.  But FYI, stakes horses run in graded stakes, including grade 1's, off a layoff all the time.  He wasn't off long and he didn't have much of an "injury".  And for the record, I still love the horse, just NOT the owners.

13 Aug 2014 5:38 AM
Old Timer

Nice column, but I have to chuckle at the above sentence, "the Breeder's Cup classic, which will return to Santa Anita Park this season".  Return? Seems to me like it has been at SA every year.

13 Aug 2014 10:17 AM

I'm not going to guess who's going to win the Classic this year, but given where it is and how the field is being drafted, I think it'll take 2:00 or better to win it.

13 Aug 2014 11:42 AM
Judy G ~ CA

Whether it be Los Al or Santa Anita, I'll be there!

13 Aug 2014 2:17 PM

Unfortunately for California Chrome he will always have the name of Steve Coburn mentioned in the same sentence to tarnish his legacy.....

13 Aug 2014 2:22 PM

I totally do not understand all the negative comments about Steve Coburn -- we all know he made some stupid comments,but why are some of the harpies on here still talking about it.  There are owners, trainers, jockeys that have done far worse things and I don't see their past indiscretions mentioned every time a horse they are connected with is written about.  If you are going to harp on Steve Coburn, every time CC is mentioned, then do the same why not bring up the rest of those who have done or said things that have tarnished horse racing. You all are pretty quick to forgive jockey who get in fights a the track,and with drug and alcohol problems, trainer/owners who have horses who test positive for illegal substances, other owners who have shot off their mouths, why keep harping on this.

13 Aug 2014 3:11 PM


I agree with you.  Yes, Steve Coburn should not have spoken when he was so upset.  We all say things we regret when we do that.  I understand his disappointment.  He was riding high with that marvelous horse, great trainer, great jockey, great partner and great handlers of his horse.  He's a very emotional guy and he apologized.  It's over.  The horse is still a great horse.  I wish only the best for the horse and all the connections.  No one is perfect time to move on.

13 Aug 2014 3:57 PM


13 Aug 2014 4:16 PM
Frank Angst

Sorry about the Raven's Pass confusion. I misread the report. I've updated to the correct the number of starts.

13 Aug 2014 5:53 PM

What a really nice presentation of fine equine that made definitive marks of memories in racing - unmatched and unforgotten.  Thank you Frank Angst for another eloquently presented recollection and noteworthy info of  California Chrome.

13 Aug 2014 10:27 PM
Pedigree Ann

But Racingfan, doesn't Art Sherman, not the owners, decide when and if the horse races? So it seemed to me you were calling out the trainer, not the owner.

14 Aug 2014 7:47 AM
Pedigree Ann

Speaking of forgiving and forgetting..., or not.

It still astonishes that Patrick Biancone, a man ruled off for life in TWO international racing jurisdictions, is permitted to train in the US. Even after the snake venom found in his tackroom fridge. It boggles the mind. And yet some of you want to pillory somebody with a big mouth?

14 Aug 2014 7:53 AM
English Pete

Hey thanks Pedigree Ann, I'd forgotten about old Patrick Louis. Ran off to the USA after getting done for a couple of positive tests on his horses in Hong Kong, and got a job as racing manager to Frank Stronach who is now promoting Lasix-free racing. I make no comment on that latter point, but isn't it a strange world? By the way, on the snake venom case didn't everything get overturned on the basis snake venom wasn't specifically banned? Even stranger.

14 Aug 2014 10:43 AM

California Chrome will not win the BC Classic.  Sorry folks, he just is not good enough against these kind.

14 Aug 2014 3:29 PM

Pedigree Ann - with those owners I highly doubt that Mr Sherman calls the shots. Especially since they stated that before Chrome ever ran, Perry gave Art a list of the races to run him in on the way to the Derby....    Gia - the reason it has not gone away is because Steve has not stopped.... He may not have recently made any wildly inappropriate comments but he is still being...Gosh I don't even know what words to use.  Still showing his bad side I guess would be the nicest way to put it.

15 Aug 2014 11:48 PM
johnny I

Totally disagree running CC without a of luck though.

16 Aug 2014 2:08 AM

Frank: Nice article. I like this comment you made "Any of those top 3-year-olds or perhaps a party crasher will try to become the 10th 3-year-old to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic"  

I know of only two other 3YOs in this crop that could be  potential "party crashers" is Todd Pletcher's Danza and the other has recently moved to the camp of Chad Brown.

We're waiting with baited breath, otherwise any of the ones you previously mentioned can do it. This is the year of the 3YOs in the BCC in my view. Bayern, Shared Belief, California Chrome, Wicked Strong, Tonalist, Danza & Social Inclusion are a most formidable bunch and too hot for the older horses to handle.

17 Aug 2014 2:39 PM

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