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California Chrome favored in 140th Kentucky Derby


California Chrome The Favorite For Kentucky Derby

By GARY B. GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- California Chrome has the Kentucky Derby post that trainer Art Sherman wanted and a sparkling resume that has made him the horse to beat in the 140th edition at Churchill Downs.

By maximizing that position to get ahead of a speedy 19-horse field, he could earn a garland of red roses Saturday and take an important first step toward ending a 36-year Triple Crown champion drought.

Both are huge challenges, but the chestnut colt seems capable of getting a leg up in the sport's marquee race. California Chrome is unbeaten as a 3-year-old and has six wins and a second in 10 starts.

Starting from the fifth position as a 5-2 morning-line favorite, he aims to become the first California-bred Derby winner in 52 years and make Sherman, 77, the oldest winning trainer.

The scheduled post time is 6:24 p.m. EDT with temperatures expected in the low-70s and a 10 percent chance of showers, conditions that Sherman hopes will pay off for California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza.

"I like it fine," Sherman said after Wednesday's post draw. "Victor says he likes it. Says he won the Kentucky Derby from the five (on War Emblem in 2002). I'm happy and I feel no pressure."

Whether California Chrome applies or receives pressure from the quick field around him, and how much, are the big questions. While his four-race winning streak coming in proves that he has had the final word, several horses could make the opening statement.

Vicar's In Trouble isn't expected to make it as a 20-1 longshot starting from the first post position, but his jockey is motivated by a shot at history. Rosie Napravnik aims to become the first female to win horse racing's marquee event and comes in riding momentum from Friday's victory by filly Untapable in the Kentucky Oaks.

That win also positioned her to become the first woman to accomplish the Oaks-Derby double and the first rider to do so since Hall of Famer Calvin Borel did it in 2009. Napravnik was fifth in last year's Derby and is confident about one of three mounts trained by Mike Maker.

Maker's other horses are General a Rod (15-1) and Harry's Holiday (50-1), which starts alongside Vicar's in Trouble.

"We got the first half completed, so we're moving on to the second half of the double," Napravnik said after the 4 1/2-length victory.

Added co-owner Ken Ramsey: "Well, the 1-hole is the closest way home. ... We're going to save a little ground. He's got tactical speed."

One early push could come from 6-1 second choice Wicked Strong, named for victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombings. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, he won the Wood Memorial with a strong finish and will go off from the far post position with Rajiv Maragh aboard.

"It might be that speed is quick and they get to rolling in a clump and he can draft in behind them and it'll work out OK," Jerkens said. "The one positive is that he's not in the gate very long. I'm trying to convince myself that it's not a bad post, but I don't know if I can."

Then again, don't be shocked if one of Todd Pletcher's four Derby horses make a charge. Arkansas Derby winner Danza is listed as a 10-1 shot, Intense Holiday is 12-1, while Vinceremos and We Miss Artie are 30-1 and 50-1, respectively.

Tapiture is 2-2-2 in seven starts with trainer Steve Asmussen, who is under investigation by Kentucky and New York racing officials after an animal rights group allege that he and his former assistant mistreated horses in their care.

Asmussen didn't address the matter when asked after winning the Oaks with Untapable. He wants to see if Tapiture can continue his success at Churchill Downs, where the horse had a win and two thirds as a 2-year-old.

"I've been very pleased with who he is since he came back to Churchill and I think a lot of that has to do with his experience here all last fall," Asmussen said. "He's a horse that spent a lot of time here, in this barn, and has had a lot of success over this racetrack."

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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Mike May 03 2014 at 4:53 PM

What about Palin? Is she running?

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2 replies
juststeve35 Mike May 03 2014 at 5:00 PM

How sad that the entire extent of your intellectual repertoire consists of rhetoric or hyperbole...

Some day, we hope you will develop the emotional maturity to move beyond such petty, partisan, childish behaviors.

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1 reply
Mike juststeve35 May 03 2014 at 5:28 PM

Talk about horse racing and out comes talking the wrong end of the horse.

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Casey Mike May 03 2014 at 5:13 PM

Good one, thanks for making my day

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eastedie May 03 2014 at 4:41 PM

The owner is a very humble man who was a jockey for years. Horse blood is his blood. And the nice thing about California Chrome is, he isn't a syndicated horse, but is owned directly. Art doesn't care if he isn't a triple Crown winner, just wants to wind the Derby and go home & celebrate his 74th birthday as he said "in the stable with CC and a good bottle of wine".
Man after my own heart!
I say, you go, California Chrome. Make you & Art happy - you both deserve it. BTW, congrats on the Santa Anita win!

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crowland503 May 03 2014 at 6:24 PM

I am tired of hearing about the horses. Let us have true race for the triple crown! The horses will mount and ride the jockeys from the start to the finish; then we will know how well the jockeys can perform on the race tracks.

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oujoou May 03 2014 at 3:10 PM

Horses are beautiful. I have never SEEN an ugly horse. I know awful people who can look at a horse and make fun of its features. These 'people' call themselves 'horse' people. I think that the reality is that they have too much time on their hands. :( Objectivity is about objectivity. The fastest horse is the horse that hides it. He or she lives free somewhere . . .maybe in Montana . .. or on a farm with a beautiful mate and no pressure to make their owners rich or happy. I have so many horse stories . . . let me tell you about the time . . .blah blah blah blah :)

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1 reply
mwalker255 oujoou May 03 2014 at 5:18 PM

Just watched/listened to Jody What's her name totally destroy our National Anthem. Why do these "singers" and I use the word cautionously, think they can improve/rewrite the song.

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lthrnck68 May 03 2014 at 3:01 PM

You'd think "Secretariat" would be listed somewhere. Especially today.

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1 reply
hellyon3too lthrnck68 May 03 2014 at 5:12 PM

Why? Secretariat is dead. And if you want to talk about great race horses, you need to talk Exterminator.

HE was the greatest. Secretariat could never have accomplished what "Old Bones" did. Secretariat was fast, but would have broken down under the weight carried by Exterminator, and Exterminator's record of 33 stakes wins has never been broken by any Thoroughbred raced in North America.

Secretariat's record; 21 starts, 16 wins, 3 seconds, 1 third.

Exterminator's record; 99 starts, 50 wins, 17 seconds, 17 thirds. And he did it carrying weights as high as 140 pounds.

Not being disrespectful, but Secretariat was a freak.

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zannedon7 May 03 2014 at 2:09 PM

I love these magnificent, brave animals.

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SUNSHINE2UHN May 03 2014 at 2:07 PM

Secretariat was the best race horse ever!

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teddy9463 May 03 2014 at 1:54 PM

i live in Malta, could someone tellme when is the race.

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2 replies
COOKIE teddy9463 May 03 2014 at 2:12 PM

6:24 PM Eastern Standard Time

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j donley teddy9463 May 03 2014 at 2:15 PM

Teddy,


The Derby post-time is 6:24 U.S. Eastern time, today, May 3rd. I don't know how many hours you have to add or subtract for Malta, but I hope you get to see it. It's on NBC affiliates in the U.S.

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1 reply
j donley j donley May 03 2014 at 2:16 PM

I should've mentioned the time is 6:24 P.M.

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Iris May 03 2014 at 4:22 PM

No matter who wins, these and all horses are a joy to watch.
Good Luck all.

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lmstroupe May 03 2014 at 5:42 PM

Can we assume the trainers have tortured these horses sufficently to force them to perform to please their multi-millionaire owners,Make sure they shoot them full of drugs so they will run so hard their heart burst.There can only be one winner ,What happens to the loosers ?Do they shoot them ?Maby drown some of them ,Kinda like the pit bull fighters do because they lost and cost them money.

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2 replies
Gail lmstroupe May 03 2014 at 5:48 PM

I heard they kill them and grind them up for some kind of animal food. It breaks my heart.

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ishrppa lmstroupe May 03 2014 at 5:59 PM

torture? The only bad thing about these races is the horses are too young - they shouldn't have them run unitl they are at least 4 yrs old - not as long yearlings - then there wouldn't be so much truma to their legs... But they can't "shoot" them full of drugs because the equines are tested for that and it is banned. Never seen a horse burst their heart - where the hell are you from? The "loosers" generally go on to other races or are sold. These horses are not treated like pitt bulls in a fighting ring for pete's sake - damn where did you get your info?

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