LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A horse with a humble pedigree. A couple of working stiff owners. A 77-year-old trainer with his first Kentucky Derby horse.
Even Hollywood couldn't have made this up.
California Chrome made it look easy Saturday, pulling away down the stretch to win the Derby by 1 3/4 lengths.
In a sport dominated by wealthy owners and regally bred horses from Kentucky's bluegrass country, this was a victory for the little guys. Owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn bred an $8,000 mare to a $2,500 stallion to produce the winner of the world's most famous race with their one-horse stable.
"This is just a dream come true and a great birthday present,'" said Coburn, who turned 61 on Saturday.
California Chrome ran 1¼ miles in 2:03.66 and paid $7, $5.60 and $4.20. The chestnut colt was sent off as the 5-2 favorite by the crowd of 164,906, the second-largest in the Derby's 140-year history.
His trainer, Art Sherman, became the oldest trainer to win the Derby, 57 years after he traveled from California as an exercise rider for Derby winner Swaps. He watched that race from the barn area; this time he smelled red roses in the winner's circle.