Horse racing is unfortunately not what it was years ago as it seems like there is a casino on every corner. The Sport of Kings is as exciting as ever, and those of us that still follow it religiously are often rewarded with greatness. California Chrome is one such pleasure we all were able to experience the last 4 years. He nearly won the Triple Crown in 2014 and followed that up by winning over $14M in his lifetime. He won 16 of his 27 starts in his career, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Pacific Classic, Santa Anita Derby, and Dubai World Cup. He was also named the horse of the year in 2014 and 2016.
He was born on 2/18/11 to Breeders Perry Martin and Steve Coburn who would be very involved in much controversy including the public meltdown by Colburn on National Television after they lost the Belmont Stakes and some strange decisions that did not seem to be in the best interest of the horse in 2015. Thankfully, Taylor Made Farms became involved in Chrome’s ownership bringing stability that lead to an amazing 5 year old season. Victor Espinoza was his jockey and Art Sherman was his trainer. Before Espinoza was his jockey, Chrome only won 2 of his first 6 races. He won 14 of 21 starts with Victor at the helm including two six race winning streaks in 2014 and 2016.
I personally was never a “Chromie” during his racing career, as the ownership really turned me off. The national craze for this horse was unprecedented, and their fierce loyalty could be felt online. I never really understood this loyalty with everything that swirled around this horse. What I did not fully understand was the personality of this amazing athlete. I met him at the Belmont Stakes in 2014, but never got too close. I bet against him that day and won a large sum of money on the exacta and winner that day. I basically bet against him every time he ran which as times was profitable like against Arrogate, but sometimes not wise as he did win at a 60% clip.
I visited Chrome at the Taylor Made farm on Sunday and he completely changed my opinion of him. He was amazing! While he was 150 pounds heavier than his racing weight, his personality was amazing and he looked fantastic. He stood there and basically posed for the 15 or so of us on the tour while happily eating the cookies we fed him. We all took a number of pictures, and spent a good portion of the tour in awe of his greatness. I instantly knew why he was such a fan favorite. You just do not see that type of behavior from a horse. The Taylor Made farm is an amazing facility and Chrome’s stud fee is $40,000. He is totally booked this season and we will have a number of Chrome babies entering the racing seen in 2020. He is surely in great hands and will have a wonderful retirement that is well deserved. I am proudly a new Chromie!
— Chris Bouchard (@CHRISBOUCHARD88) February 26, 2017