LOUISVILLE, Ky. — All winter and spring, California Chrome kept getting better, even as his top 3-year-old rivals succumbed to injuries or delivered stagnant performances.
The Kentucky Derby is known for confounding expectations with its packed fields and unevenly tested competitors, but California Chrome struck a blow for order today as he surged to victory in the first leg of the Triple Crown in front of an announced crowd of 164,906, the second-largest attendance in the Derby’s 140-year history.
Starting from the No. 6 post as a 2-1 favorite, California Chrome stayed close to the lead the entire race and poured it on down the stretch under jockey Victor Espinoza, winning easily in an unofficial time of 2:03.66. Commanding Curve came in second while Danza finished third. The second-choice coming in, Wicked Strong, was a respectable fourth.
California Chrome, a chestnut colt, is the first California bred to win the Derby since 1962. He was the fastest horse coming in and also, perhaps, the best story.
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