California Chrome lived up to the billing as betting favorite on Saturday at Churchill Downs in front of 164,906, drawing clear in the stretch to win the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Getting a perfect ride from Victor Espinoza, the colt tracked a moderate early pace, got to the front with a quarter-mile remaining and shook clear with only longshot Commanding Curve running late, but that runner came up 1 ¾ lengths short.
Espinoza wrapped up on the colt late and raised his arm in triumph for the photo finish camera, winning his second Kentucky Derby. The jockey was aboard gate to wire upset winner War Emblem in 2002.
”I had the trip I wanted,” Espinoza said after the race. “I don’t mess with him too much. I just stretch his legs and little bit and then let him do his thing. Pressure will be back on for the Preakness, but that’s OK.”
California Chrome was the solid favorite in early betting the past two weeks, as low as 2-1 according to Oddssshark.com. The colt has now won five races in a row with authority and will be a heavy favorite in two weeks for the Preakness Stakes (G1), the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
For the second year in a row trainer Dallas Stewart saddled a longshot that ran late to land in the bottom half of the exacta. This year it was 38-1 Commanding Curve, with the $2 exacta returning $340.00. Last year Golden Soul rallied late at 35-1 and completed a $2 exacta with the favorite Orb that returned $981.60.
Turf ‘n’ Sport handicapper Michael Dempsey had Candy Boy as his top pick, but the colt had a tough trip and checked in 13th.
His jockey Gary Stevens explained the trip by stating, “I had a horrible trip. On the first turn Rajiv Maragh came over on Wicked Strong and shut me off. Then he shut [Corey] Nakatani off, causing me to steady again. We’re both lucky we didn’t fall. We need to take care of the horse and rider.”
2014 Kentucky Derby Results
5 California Chrome $7.00 $5.60 $4.20
17 Commanding Curve $31.80 $15.40
4 Danza $6.00
Times in 100ths: :23.04 :47.37 1:11.80 1:37.45 2:03.66
$2 Exacta (5-17) Paid: $340.00,
$2 Trifecta (5-17-4) Paid: $3,424.60,
$2 Superfecta (5-17-4-20) Paid: $15,383.80
Full Order of finish for the 2014 Kentucky Derby
|1||5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||–|
|2||17||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||1 3/4|
|3||4||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||3|
|4||20||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||Jimmy Jerkens||5 3/4|
|5||6||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||5 3/4|
|6||12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||6 1/4|
|7||19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel||Billy Gowan||6 3/4|
|8||14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||7 1/2|
|9||13||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||8|
|10||7||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||8 1/4|
|11||8||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||8 1/4|
|12||16||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||9|
|13||18||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||11 3/4|
|14||3||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||15|
|15||15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||16 1/4|
|16||2||Harry’s Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||22 1/2|
|17||9||Vinceremos||Joe Rococo Jr.||Todd Pletcher||28|
|18||10||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||28 1/4|
|19||1||Vicar’s In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||38 1/4|