Let’s Hear it for the Little Guys in Kentucky!
~ Amy Lignor
No…we are not talking (finally) about the owner of the Clippers when the word ‘worthless’ comes to the sports mind. Here, we are talking about a wonderful, charming, happy moment. We are talking about a race won, an ‘in-your-face’ to many naysayer’s, and a stunning horse who proved everybody absolutely dead wrong, and brought massive pride to what were supposedly his ‘worthless’ parents.
Two men, Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, also brought laughter to some eyes long ago when they spent a measly eight grand on a mare that was basically seen as worth nothing more than eight dollars. Turns out, that mare was one half of a stunning team that would rock Kentucky, transforming that once worthless mare into the killer buy of the century.
The Kentucky Derby is done, run and gone – and it brought surprises to many a face (not as many as you would think, however, considering how well the horse has been running), when California Chrome took home the two million dollar prize. And this was not a close one, by the way, California Chrome won by a length and three-quarters over another ‘CC’ – Commanding Curve – at Churchill Downs, before a huge crowd that will go down in the books as being the second-largest attendance for the Kentucky Derby ever. This is also nice for the winner, considering one and all were able to witness the speed, agility, and talent this horse has.
California Chrome would not have been a speck on the radar if not for that first measly eight thousand purchase: Love That Chase. And you have to give it to the owners here – and, no, they are not bluebloods – they do not have more money than the entire state of Kentucky rolled up into one – they are the working class stiffs (like you and me) who are now cheering and smiling over a mare that brought the Kentucky Derby a winner with class. You gotta give it to them, here, guys and gals. Eight grand brings in two million – a lot like paying a dime for a Shelby Cobra – insane!
Now, Mom had done things – not Kentucky Derby things, but things. She was never Sea Biscuit, but she gave it her all. Love That Chase actually won one of her six career starts, before being bred to Lucky Pulpit. Now Lucky did his part too in the racing world. This horse, by the way, cost even less than Mom. Lucky was a $2,500 horse whose only background was three wins out of 22 starts.
Even though together their statistics were nothing to write home about – think Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets this past season – their little baby made them into superstars. This proves the fact, whether bluebloods like it or not, that anyone, with any genes, can become the best of the best if the work and love are put into the life they are living.
No, this is not an overstatement, even though some are already yapping about the ‘luck’ factor, and the many reasons why Chrome has no chance of being a Triple Crown winner. However…I say take a look at the race. California Chrome raced in third early on behind Uncle Sigh and Chitu. And then, Chrome was more than bored, apparently, with the spot and grabbed the lead after a mile was run in 1:37.45, laughing all the way. This is the seventh win in 11 starts for this horse, and there will be far more to come.
So when we speak about surprise coming to some naysayer’s – it is not the people who actually watch or bet on the races. The working stiffs who do bet thought Chrome was in – it’s not like the horse had never proven itself with a win before – this just happens to be the biggest. And maybe there was something with the ‘CC’s on Saturday consider Commanding Curve came all the way from 18th to finish behind Chrome.
This big chestnut colt is the dream of these owners that has now come to serious fruition. Of course, the price tag for Chrome had rocketed significantly before this win. After California Chrome won the April 5th Santa Anita Derby, Coburn and Martin were actually offered $6 million for 51% controlling interest in the colt – happily, they declined.
Los Alamitos is California Chrome’s homeland. He loves the land, he loves his life, and the horse is all heart and soul. And reveling in this fifth straight win Chrome not only inspires his owners, but the horse also brings pride to the State of California, becoming only the fourth horse to win the Derby from CA and the first to win it by ‘miles’.
Will Chrome be a Triple Crown winner? Well…CC has a massive chance to do just that. And then everyone – all the ones who laughed hysterically way back when at a mare who was basically seen as a whole lot of nothing – can bow and say their apologies as they watch her child take the whole darn thing. …And while the owners laugh all the way to the bank!