Thursday, April 10, 2014

SANTA ANITA DERBY - CALIFORNIA CHROME

Yesterday the girls were front and center...in case you missed it, here's the Santa Anita Oaks and Providencia Stakes link.

The Golden State's Kentucky Derby hopeful is SANTA ANITA DERBY winner CALIFORNIA CHROME...he will be the likely favorite come the first Saturday in May.

I hope you enjoy the view of the race through my lens.

CALIFORNIA CHROME shows the eye of a tiger in the walking ring, assistant trainer Alan Sherman in the background.
Team CALIFORNIA CHROME getting more than 15 minutes of fame, headed by trainer Art Sherman and jockey Victor Espinoza.
The flashy chestnut had adoring fans in attendance, from the very young...
....to the young at heart!
CALIFORNIA CHROME was alert but very professional in the walking ring...
...and once Espinoza got a leg up his ears told the crowd his competition was running for second money.

Gary Stevens aboard a physically mature CANDY BOY.... but when compared to the condition of the favorite it appeared that the son of CANDY RIDE was in need of the race to be in winning form.
HOPPERTUNITY had Mike Smith smiling from ear to ear, fresh off a win in the G.2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park three weeks prior...
...and Smith continued to look confident in the post parade.
CALIFORNIA CHROME looked every bit the star and the deserving favorite in the post parade...

...yet he made some time to acknowledge me and other adoring fans...

...but once he caught sight of the starting gate CALIFORNIA CHROME's competitive juices forced Espinoza to keep on his toes.
CANDY BOY was alert but lacked the spirit and fitness to contend with 'CHROME eight weeks removed from his own impressive G.2 Robert B. Lewis win.
A sizeable crowd, by today's standards, joined me on a beautiful Saturday to see history made.
At the start, CALIFORNIA CHROME and CANDY BOY both broke awkwardly...

...and a stride later 'CHROME's troubled start went from bad to worse.
The affectionately termed "freak," compared in hushed tones to the inimitable SWAPS, would extricate himself deftly as great horses can do.  By the time CALIFORNIA CHROME carried Espinoza past the stands again, only the winning margin was in doubt.
Once Espinoza caught their silhouette on the infield video screen without a challenger in sight, he allowed 'CHROME to finish without being asked
After the race, to Victor Espinoza and CALIFORNIA CHROME went the spoils.
The joyous winner's circle celebration...CALIFORNIA CHROME shows he's getting the hang of posing for pictures!
HOPPERTUNITY went back to the receiving barn, gasping for breath after finishing a game but distant second confirming his Rebel Stakes win and Kentucky Derby contender status is no fluke.
CANDY BOY was a tired colt after running all-out to nab third and possibly enough points to make it into the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
CALIFORNIA CHROME, looked like the G.1 Santa Anita Derby win in 1:47.52 (for a Beyer Speed Figure of 107), including a final furlong in :12.49, took very little out of him.

Take a good look ladies and gentlemen, this California bred colt named CALIFORNIA CHROME will be the Kentucky Derby favorite and a force to be reckoned with in less than four weeks!

LADIES FIRST - The Santa Anita Oaks and Providencia Stakes highlights in pictures.

THE SANTA ANITA OAKS - Fashion Plate defeats Ria Antonia

Speedy filly FASHION PLATE looked calm and focused on the Oaks prize.

RIA ANTONIA looking like the filly we saw win the BC Juvenile Fillies via DQ.

GARY STEVENS assures Arnold Zetcher before getting a leg up on FASHION PLATE.

SIMON CALLAGHAN was quietly confident with FASHION PLATE.

CALLAGHAN can't hide his enthusiasm after STEVENS got a leg up.

RIA ANTONIA was the picture of health with MIKE SMITH up.

Santa Anita Oaks start, FASHION PLATE and RIA ANTONIA begin as they would finish.

Speedy FASHION PLATE cruises to the lead with Stevens; Smith pushes RIA ANTONIA to keep up.

FASHION PLATE drives to the finish line....

...and not even Smith's strong left handed whip on RIA ANTONIA can make up the stagger.

NASHOBA'S GOLD looked like a silver lode coming to the paddock.

DIVERSY HARBOR looked beautiful and tough.

JOE TALAMO was very comfortable on NASHOBA'S GOLD, 1/2 sister to the great but ill-fated NASHOBA'S KEY, both out of broodmare NASHOBA for Mr.& Mrs. Warren Williamson (background, right)
NASHOBA'S GOLD avenges her loss to late-running DIVERSY HARBOR (rail); the talented pair of turf-loving fillies pulled far away from third place ONE MORE.

Stay tuned, later today is all about the Santa Anita Derby and CALIFORNIA CHROME!

Here's a little taste of what you can expect...