Here’s why almost every expert is picking California Chrome to win the Kentucky Derby


California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza. (Benoit Photo/AP)

Horse racing experts are weighing in with their predictions for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, and pretty much across the board, California Chrome comes out on top. That’s because this is a horse who has proven that he knows how to win, having earned a dominating No. 1 finish at the Santa Anita Derby earlier this month.

California Chrome’s track record, however, didn’t make him an instant favorite. This horse doesn’t have a typical Kentucky Derby pedigree, analysts say. The Guardian writes:

“Despite piecing together a string of impressive performances, California Chrome was still somewhat overlooked by the naysayers who couldn’t quite picture a California-bred who had cost less than a second-hand Ford Focus winning a race that is generally the preserve of the equine Lamborghinis.”

Basically, California Chrome is like the Tom Brady of race horses. Overlooked at first but a proven winner at the end. This could be a fairy tale ending.

California Chrome facts

Trainer: Art Sherman, 77, who worked with 1955 Kentucky Derby winner Swaps.

Jockey: Victor Espinoza, who won the first two legs of the 2002 Triple Crown with War Emblem

Owners: Steve and Carolyn Coburn and Perry and Denise Martin, who together form DAP Racing. According Kentucky Derby officials, “California Chrome is the first race horse that the Coburns and Martins have campaigned.”

Parents: Lucky Pulpit, California Chrome’s sire, whose lone stakes win came in a five-furlong turf dash at Arlington Park, and Love the Chase, who never had much luck on the track.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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