By Mint Julep

2014 Kentucky Derby Winner California Chrome

2014 kentucky derby winner california chrome

Explore the incredible journey of California Chrome, a horse who went from humble beginnings to winning the Kentucky Derby in 2014. Follow this underdog racehorse’s amazing rise to fame, his unbeatable winning streak leading up to his historic Derby victory, and the emotional triumph felt by trainer Art Sherman. Learn about the excitement surrounding California Chrome as he aimed for Triple Crown glory after winning the Derby, his continued success with Grade I wins, and how he made an enduring mark on horse racing history.

California Chrome’s Background and Early Career

California Chrome, a Thoroughbred born in 2011 in California, was an underdog with humble beginnings. His ancestors were Love the Chase and Lucky Pulpit. Despite his modest roots, he quickly rose to fame in the horse racing world. Coming from Los Alamitos Race Course in Orange County, this remarkable horse had a winning streak that led him to a legendary victory at Churchill Downs.

This incredible athlete won hearts around the globe with his inspiring journey culminating in a historic win at the prestigious 2014 Kentucky Derby. California Chrome showed unwavering determination and exceptional talent on every track he raced on as he pursued greatness. The qualification system for the Kentucky Derby only served as stepping stones for this iconic racer who would soon make history.

Under Art Sherman’s careful training, California Chrome embodied resilience and excellence like no other horse of his time. Owned by Steve Coburn & Perry Martin, this duo had strong faith in their prized possession despite facing tough competition along the way. With each step towards success, it became clear that California Chrome was not just any racehorse but a symbol of unyielding spirit destined to achieve even greater heights on his quest for Triple Crown glory.

Road to the Kentucky Derby Qualification System

The path to the Kentucky Derby changed everything in 2014. A new points system was introduced, shifting focus from reputation to performance. This led to a fierce competition among horses aiming for a spot at Churchill Downs, making the race more thrilling and unpredictable.

Horses earned points based on their performances in key prep races like the Santa Anita Derby and Florida Derby, determining who would make it to the starting gate on Derby day. Trainers and jockeys felt the pressure as they planned how to earn enough points for their contenders. Every win or second-place finish brought them closer to achieving their dream of competing in America’s most famous horse racing event.

Under this updated system, horses needed both talent and consistency across different tracks and distances leading up to race day. It wasn’t just about winning one event; it was about proving themselves repeatedly against tough competitors under varying conditions. For California Chrome, each victory marked progress towards his ultimate goal: wearing roses in Churchill Downs’ winner’s circle – an achievement he accomplished with style.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Their remarkable achievements inspire and captivate audiences, setting an example for aspiring athletes and enthusiasts.

  2. They serve as role models, elevating the sport of horse racing to new heights of popularity.

  3. By generating excitement and anticipation for major racing events, they keep fans engaged.

  4. Their lasting legacy resonates through the annals of sports history, leaving a mark that will never be forgotten.


  1. The mental and physical toll of intense pressure and scrutiny can really affect them

  2. Media attention that never stops might intrude on their private life

  3. Fans and stakeholders expecting a lot from them can cause huge stress

  4. Injuries they get during races could have lasting effects on their health

  5. Trying to live up to their legendary status could overshadow their personal growth

Post Position Draw and Favorites

After the Post Position Draw on April 30, 2014, at Churchill Downs Racetrack clubhouse, California Chrome became the morning line favorite with odds of 5-2. The withdrawal of second favorite Hoppertunity due to soreness reshuffled post positions and set the stage for an exciting race day.

California Chrome’s great post position wasn’t just luck but a smart move in his quest for victory. Starting from gate five allowed jockey Victor Espinoza to navigate the field effectively and keep a good position throughout the race. With his impressive speed and stamina, California Chrome was ready to make every step count towards achieving that Triple Crown dream.

The favorites may have changed leading up to the Derby, but one thing stayed consistent – California Chrome’s strong confidence shown by both horse and team alike. Trainer Art Sherman’s calm attitude hid a deep belief in their ability to overcome any challenge thrown their way. This unwavering faith echoed through each hoofbeat on that important Kentucky Derby afternoon.

As fans eagerly awaited “the most thrilling two minutes in sports,” there was an energetic buzz around California Chrome and his potential for greatness. His modest beginnings had transformed into a tale of hope and determination that touched hearts worldwide – embodying the essence of racing dreams coming true against all challenges.

Unprecedented Victory at the Kentucky Derby

On May 3, 2014, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, more than 160,000 excited fans witnessed an incredible moment in horse racing history. California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza amazed the crowd as they raced past tough competitors like Uncle Sigh and Chitu. The atmosphere was electric as California Chrome surged ahead with determination.

This victory wasn’t just about winning a race; it represented overcoming challenges against all odds. Born to a regular mare named Love the Chase and sired by Lucky Pulpit—a stallion not known for winning big races—California Chrome embodied the spirit of an underdog that resonated with fans worldwide. His journey was not only about speed but also heart—a quality that shined brightly on Derby day when he outpaced experienced competitors.

The path to the Kentucky Derby is demanding for both horse and rider—it tests their skills and endurance. California Chrome didn’t just win; he dominated with style and grace that thrilled the crowds. Crossing the finish line with a lead of 1¾ lengths left hearts pounding not only for this remarkable pair but also for trainer Art Sherman—the oldest trainer to ever win this prestigious race—who had dedicated himself to nurturing this champion.

In those moments after victory at Churchill Downs filled with joy mixed with disbelief, owners Steve Coburn & Perry Martin watched their prized possession join legends in horse racing history. Excitement grew as whispers of Triple Crown glory surrounded California Chrome—a symbol of perseverance whose story inspired people far beyond racetracks where dreams can thrive despite challenges.

Derby Standouts: Key Stats and Performances

Finish Post Horse Jockey Trainer Morning line odds Final odds Margin (lengths) Winnings Points
1 5 California Chrome Victor Espinoza Art Sherman 5–2 2.5 1+3/4 $1,417,800 150
2 16 Commanding Curve Shaun Bridgmohan Dallas Stewart 50–1 37.8 1+3/4 $400,000 20
3 4 Danza Joe Bravo Todd Pletcher 10–1 8.7 3 $200,000 100
4 19 Wicked Strong Rajiv Maragh James Jerkens 8–1 6.5 5+3/4 $100,000 102
5 6 Samraat José Ortiz Rick Violette Jr. 15–1 16.7 5+3/4 $60,000 100
6 11 Dance With Fate Corey Nakatani Peter Eurton 20–1 16.0 6+1/4 108
7 18 Ride On Curlin Calvin Borel William Gowan 15–1 17.3 6+3/4 55
8 13 Medal Count Robby Albarado Dale Romans 20–1 26.2 7+1/2 40
9 12 Chitu Martin Garcia Bob Baffert 20–1 25.5 8 54
10 7 We Miss Artie Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher 50–1 27.6 8+1/4 60
11 8 General A Rod Joel Rosario Michael J. Maker 15–1 30.7 8+1/2 40
12 15 Intense Holiday John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 12–1 14.1 9+1/4 93
13 17 Candy Boy Gary Stevens John W. Sadler 20–1 9.4 12 30
14 3 Uncle Sigh Irad Ortiz Jr. Gary Contessa 30–1 30.8 16+1/4 24
15 14 Tapiture Ricardo Santana Jr. Steve Asmussen 15–1 35.2 17+1/2 52
16 2 Harry’s Holiday Corey Lanerie Michael J. Maker 50–1 44.3 23+3/4 20
17 9 Vinceremos Joe Rocco Jr. Todd Pletcher 30–1 49.7 29+1/2 20
18 10 Wildcat Red Luis Saez Jose Garoffalo 15–1 18.6 29+1/2 90
19 1 Vicar’s In Trouble Rosie Napravnik Michael J. Maker 30–1 20.40 39+1/2 120

Trainer Art Sherman’s Emotional Triumph

Trainer Art Sherman made history as the oldest mentor to lead a horse to victory at the Kentucky Derby when he was 77 years old. He had been involved in horse racing for many years and even rode alongside Swaps, who won the Derby title back in 1955. The win wasn’t just about California Chrome winning the race; it held sentimental value for Sherman—a reflection of his dedication and hard work over the years spent around horses.

Sherman’s journey from being an exercise rider to becoming a respected trainer was filled with determination and perseverance. As California Chrome raced towards success, memories of early mornings and dusty racetracks flooded back for Sherman, reminding him of all the hard work that went into reaching this moment. The bond between man and horse is special—it’s built on trust developed through hours of preparation together for moments like these under Churchill Downs’ iconic twin spires.

This triumph meant more than just breaking records; it resonated with anyone who understood overcoming challenges. When cameras captured tears welling up in Art Sherman’s eyes as California Chrome surged ahead, people worldwide witnessed not only a race won but also a deep connection between two beings—one human, one equine—united by shared dreams without limits.

In those emotional moments after winning, past stories blended seamlessly with present celebrations as cheers reverberated around Churchill Downs. Trainer Art Sherman stood amidst joy—an embodiment of unwavering commitment meeting sweet success finally achieved. His story intertwined with that of California Chrome’s—a tale where passion met performance on sacred grounds where champions are crowned not only based on speed but also on hearts beating fiercely together towards shared victories against all odds.

Ownership by Steve Coburn & Perry Martin

Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, regular guys known as “working stiff owners,” achieved a dream when California Chrome won. They bought Love The Chase for $8,000 and Lucky Pulpit for just $2,000 to be his sire. California Chrome’s story was like an underdog tale that drew in fans from all over the world.

Coburn and Martin’s partnership showed how staying humble can lead to big successes in horse racing. Their journey with California Chrome proved that hard work and perseverance can make any dream come true.

Watching their colt go from small beginnings to winning major races like the Kentucky Derby felt like witnessing a fairytale; it was about an everyday hero beating incredible odds to leave its mark on history.

California Chrome wasn’t just a racehorse; he became a symbol of hope and determination—a guiding light for those who want to chase dreams beyond what seems possible.

Chrome's Fascinating Tales and Legends

  1. ### The Exciting Stories of Chrome's Adventures

  2. **The Early Days of California Chrome:** Born on February 18, 2011, in Coalinga, California, California Chrome has a fascinating backstory. His dam, Love the Chase, was bought for just $8,000 while his sire Lucky Pulpit stood at stud for only $2,

  3. **Chasing the Triple Crown Dream:** Back in 2014 is when it all began – with impressive wins at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Racing fans worldwide were captivated by California Chrome's journey as he aimed to be the first Triple Crown champion since Affirmed in '

  4. **Stirring Up Controversy With Nasal Strips:** Leading up to the Belmont Stakes race was quite dramatic due to a request from Team Chrome – they wanted him to wear a nasal strip during the event! Initially denied but later approved caused quite some chatter among fans and experts alike.

  5. **California Chrome's Enduring Legacy:** While missing out on clinching that elusive Triple Crown win at Belmont Stakes didn't dim his star power one bit! He went on to achieve great victories including prestigious titles like Dubai World Cup and Pacific Classic.

  6. **From Racing Champ to Proud Father**: After retiring from racing in 2017 marked an exciting new chapter for California Chrome- becoming a stallion at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky! And guess what? His offspring are now making waves in horse racing circles around carrying forward his amazing legacy!

Impressive Winning Streak and Margin of Victory

California Chrome had an amazing winning streak leading up to the 2014 Kentucky Derby that was truly remarkable. He won five races in a row starting from December 2013, leaving his competitors far behind with an incredible total victory margin of 26 lengths. This dominance not only showed off his exceptional talent but also hinted at the greatness that would unfold on Churchill Downs’ famous grounds.

The huge success California Chrome enjoyed during this time painted a picture of pure excellence and unwavering determination. Winning each race by such big margins didn’t just prove he was a strong competitor but also captured the attention and excitement of horse racing fans all over the world. People were eagerly waiting to see what he would do next and if this outstanding winning streak could lead to something even more impressive – a rare achievement in horse racing history.

As California Chrome raced towards glory through one victory after another, it became clear that he wasn’t like any other racehorse; he was meant for greatness. His ability to beat opponents by such large distances said so much about his skill, speed, and natural competitive spirit – qualities that made him stand out from everyone else. The stage was set for something truly special at Churchill Downs – an important event that would forever engrave California Chrome’s name in horse racing history

Prediction of Triple Crown Success

In 2014, California Chrome made history by winning the Kentucky Derby. The horse’s owner, Steve Coburn, was full of confidence and excitement after this victory. He believed in California Chrome’s potential more than ever before. With determination shining in his eyes, he confidently declared that this talented colt was destined for greatness beyond just Churchill Downs.

Coburn boldly stated that California Chrome would become the first horse bred in California to achieve the prestigious Triple Crown title. His words were not mere whispers; they resonated powerfully throughout the racing world with certainty and passion.

The talk about California Chrome’s extraordinary abilities didn’t stay limited to Coburn’s optimistic forecasts; it spread rapidly among trainers like wildfire on a hot summer day. Everyone couldn’t help but acknowledge what they had witnessed at Churchill Downs – a remarkable display of speed and endurance that left many spectators amazed.

Even those who competed against him reluctantly admitted there was something special about this strong yet humble horse from the West Coast. Excitement mounted as fans dared to dream alongside Coburn and Martin – hoping that this unlikely pair could accomplish one of horse racing’s greatest achievements: a Triple Crown sweep!

Hope soared high as destiny seemed to whisper sweet promises into their ears while visions of glory danced tantalizingly within reach. The stage was set for an epic showdown where dreams collided head-on with reality—a spectacle awaiting its verdict only time could reveal.

Subsequent Grade I Wins and Horse of the Year Titles

California Chrome’s incredible achievements set a new standard, showing that with determination, dreams, and hard work, one can reach remarkable heights. His journey from humble beginnings to racing stardom serves as an inspiration for anyone striving to achieve their goals in the horse racing world. He has made an undeniable impact on the history of horse racing, opening doors for future generations aiming for greatness. California Chrome’s impressive story resonates with fans around the globe and continues to motivate individuals both within and beyond the horse racing community.

After his Kentucky Derby win in 2014 at age 19-20, California Chrome went on to triumph in multiple Grade I races like Preakness Stakes and Dubai World Cup (in 2014 & ’16). These victories led him to be named Horse Of The Year—an honor that recognized his consistent excellence throughout his career. Each win added another thrilling chapter to California Chrome’s illustrious journey, captivating audiences every step of the way towards glory.

More than just a series of wins, California Chrome’s story embodies perseverance and success against all odds. From modest beginnings to worldwide recognition, his tale demonstrates that passion and dedication know no limits when it comes to achieving success. As one of the most celebrated racehorses in recent memory, California Chrome stands out not only for his victories but also for embodying resilience in overcoming challenges—a true testament to what unwavering spirit can achieve both on track and turf alike.


1. How did California Chrome's humble beginnings contribute to his underdog story?

California Chrome started his journey as a horse born in California from an unknown mother and a cheap father, which made his rise to fame even more remarkable. His story resonated with fans all over the world as he triumphed against the odds to become a legendary racehorse.

2. What was the significance of California Chrome's win at the 2014 Kentucky Derby?

California Chrome made history by winning the 2014 Kentucky Derby, demonstrating the success of an unexpected contender with a modest background and laying the groundwork for a possible Triple Crown victory.

3. How did California Chrome qualify for the Kentucky Derby through the Road to the Kentucky Derby system?

California Chrome earned a spot in the Kentucky Derby by winning important races like the Santa Anita Derby and the San Felipe Stakes. His incredible skills and strong determination were on full display as he dominated the track.

4. Who were the owners of California Chrome and what made their journey with him so remarkable?

Steve Coburn and Perry Martin owned California Chrome, a horse that won hearts around the world with their inspiring story. Their underdog journey led to a triumphant win at the 2014 Kentucky Derby that left fans feeling emotional.

5. What emotions surrounded trainer Art Sherman's victory at the Kentucky Derby with California Chrome?

Trainer Art Sherman felt a surge of pride, joy, and disbelief when he led California Chrome to victory at the Kentucky Derby. It was an incredible moment as he guided the unassuming colt to an historic win at Churchill Downs.

6. What were some of the key moments in California Chrome's winning streak leading up to his historic Kentucky Derby triumph?

California Chrome won several important races before his historic victory at the Kentucky Derby. He showed his dominance by winning the Santa Anita Derby, San Felipe Stakes, and California Cup Derby. These wins set the stage for his incredible triumph at Churchill Downs.