California Chrome Becomes New Thoroughbred Money Leader

by BAHelberg

California Chrome, popular California-bred from the 2014 American Triple Crown races, stunned in the $10 million Dubai World Cup March 26 (2016) to become all-time money leader.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner of two seasons ago took his second shot at the Dubai World Cup with resounding success, pulling away smartly from his 11 rivals in time of 2:01.83, a new track record for 2,000 meters at the Meydan, UAE, race track. The brilliant Victor Espinoza, American Triple Crown winner aboard American Pharoah in 2015, led Chrome to the victory despite a saddle glitch launching from Gate 11.

Espinoza said he was "just trying to keep...balance...not move my body" as he survived the saddle slipping under him and "kept looking forward". He found the wire with his mount going easy under him, he claimed.

Last year, California Chrome finished second in the Dubai World Cup. This season's triumph earned him $6 million from the total purse and set him in the driver's seat of North American Thoroughbred money winners. He surpassed two-time (2007-'08) Horse of the Year Curlin for top dollar honors.

Steve Coburn Sold Rights to California Chrome

New Partnership for 2014 Horse of the Year

Taylor Made Farm got in on the California Chrome action in partnership with previous part-owner Perry Martin when Steve Coburn decided to sell his minority interest in the California-bred chestnut champion.

Chrome is now a West-East hero, having scored victories in California in the West and in two Triple Crown races in the East.

California Chrome Overtakes Curlin As Track Money Earner

Cigar Now Third All-Time

Not long ago, the fabulous Cigar was Thoroughbred racing's money leader in track earnings. His last race appearance occurred in 1996, when he retired with the earnings lead at $9,999,815. It wasn't until 2008 that Curlin surpassed Cigar. Curlin's rich wins in the Preakness Stakes, the Breeders Cup World Championships Classic, and in Dubai's World Cup catapulted him past Cigar, who had equaled the 16-straight race wins of the marvelous Citation, 1948's American Triple Crown champion.

When upstart California Chrome, racing out of the DAP (Dump Ass Partners) Racing barn of co-owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, came upon the scene in 2014 as the latest threat to break the Triple Crown title drought of 30+ years, few horsemen believed in his championship abilities, but many racing fans jumped aboard his band wagon.

Now, after his all-too-familiar beat down in the 2014 Belmont Stakes and failing to take the Crown title, Chrome is riding high again. With track earnings of $12,532,650, CC brushed aside Curlin's $10,501,800 and is looking to add to his racing bankroll this Fall when he enters the Breeders Cup Classic, currently the world's second richest race (behind the Dubai Cup.)

Pushed to fourth in the race track earnings list is Skip Away, with $9,616,360. Fantastic Light is fifth, earning a total of $8,486,957.

No other Thoroughbreds have managed to hit the $8 million, or higher, mark in track earnings.    

Cigar Second In Top Five's Number of Career Posts

Skip Away Started 38 Races

California Chrome = 21 Posts: 12 Wins; 3 Place(second); 1 Show(third)/On the Board 16 of 21 Starts (Remains in Training)

Curlin = 16 Starts: 11 Firsts; 2 Second; 2 Third/15 of 16 (Last raced in 2008)

Cigar = 33 Posts: 19 Wins; 4 Place; 5 Show/28 of 33 (Last raced in 1996)

Skip Away = 38 Starts: 18 Firsts; 10 Second; 6 Third/34 of 38 (Last raced in 1998)

Fantastic Light = 25 Posts; 12 Wins; 5 Place; 3 Show/20 of 25 (Last raced in 2001)

Kentucky "Blue Grass" Country Annually Hosts the American Kentucky Derby for Thoroughbreds

California Chrome was bred in California and Named for His Silver Markings That Are Referred to As Chrome
An Arabian Thoroughbred
An Arabian Thoroughbred
Courtesy of Pixabay

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Art and Alan Sherman Continue to Train California Chrome

Victor Espinoza On A Dream Trip

Seventy-eight-year-old trainer Art Sherman, and his son, Alan, were elated that California Chrome became, in Dubai, Thoroughbred racing's all-time leading money earner. And there's a side trip for the Shermans. CC also became the all-time leading California-bred track earner with $6,442,650 when he won the San Pasqual Stakes, a grade two, on January 9, 2016. That race was CC's first appearance after finishing second in the 2015 Dubai World Cup.

Tiznow, currently 14th on the all-time money-winning list, had been the previous California-bred track bankroll champion.

Outspoken co-owner of 2014 American Horse of the Year California Chrome, Steve Coburn opted to sell out his minority rights to the winning chestnut before CC romped to victory in the 2016 Dubai World Cup, which represents racing's biggest track purse. In 2014, Coburn claimed the American Triple Crown races were all but rigged against California Chrome winning the title because the eventual Belmont Stakes winner, Tonalist, hadn't raced in all three events.

Little regard was given to Coburn's remarks by knowledgeable horsemen who had been around the Triple Crown schedule for many years. It was Coburn's first experience in the Crown in 2014. After his disgruntlement became widely reported, it also was revealed that Coburn and his co-partner, Perry Martin, weren't the best of friends. Coburn left DAP Racing, while Martin stayed on with Chrome and acquired a new co-partnership with Taylor Made Farm.

In the meantime, jockey Victor Espinoza has been on a three-season dream trip. He rode California Chrome to the winner's circle in the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and this year's Dubai World Cup. In between, he won the twelfth ever American Triple Crown in 2015 paired with American Pharoah and became the first rider to sweep Thoroughbred racing's Grand Slam when AP also crushed his competitor's in the 2015 Breeders Cup Classic.

Martin Says Chrome Will Head for Breeders Cup Classic

Is A $12 Million Race Also in Chrome's Future?

Frank Stronach, a powerful member of America's Thoroughbred racing industry, is in the midst of constructing a $12 million race to be named the Pegasus World Championship, possibly scheduled for January of 2017.

While trainer Sherman is definite about California Chrome's participation in the 2016 Breeders Cup World Championships, Chrome co-owner Martin is projecting his chestnut star to the Pegasus, as well. "...if they put that together," said Martin to interviewers after CC's Dubai World Cup triumph, "we'll go for that."

Earnings from the Breeders Cup Classic and the proposed Pegasus could well rocket California Chrome to a track earnings level that may never be by-passed.

Credit: Thumbnail and Book Cover

This mage is from the book cover of the author's personal copy of "The Black Stallion's Courage", by Walter Farley, 1956, Random House, New York.
Thoroughbreds in a flat out race to the wire!
Thoroughbreds in a flat out race to t...
Updated: 09/09/2018, BAHelberg
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