Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Exercise rider William Delgado takes Kentucky Derby entrant California Chrome for a morning workout at Churchill Downs Friday, May 2, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Kentucky Derby: California Chrome looks to shine

But after big Arkansas win, Danza will try to prove it’s the boss.

First Published May 02 2014 09:08 am • Last Updated May 02 2014 11:45 pm

The Kentucky Derby trophy is made of gold, but California Chrome will be in the spotlight Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Is the modestly bred colt a superstar? Can he become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years?

At a glance

Kentucky Derby

Saturday, 4:32 p.m. MDT

At Louisville, Ky.

TV » Ch. 5

Predicting the Derby

Handicapping the 2014 Kentucky Derby:

Post/Horse Jockey Trainer Line

4. Danza Joe Bravo Todd Pletcher 8-1

Perfect trip behind blistering pace?

5. California Chrome V. Espinoza Art Sherman 5-2

Overpowering in last four races

16. Commanding Curve S. Bridgmohan Dallas Stewart 50-1

Chance to pull a major surprise

19. Wicked Strong Rajiv Maragh James Jerkens 6-1

Post position a difficult obstacle

18. Ride on Curlin Calvin Borel William Gowan 15-1

Consistent, but no stakes wins

11. Dance With Fate Corey Nakatani Peter Eurton 20-1

Could come flying in the stretch

10. Wildcat Red Luis Saez Jose Garoffalo 15-1

Best of all the speed horses?

1. Vicar’s in Trouble Rosie Napravnik Mike Maker 30-1

Last rail winner was in 1986

13. Medal Count Robby Albarado Dale Romans 20-1

Another interesting stretch-runner

15. Intense Holiday John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 8-1

Flopped as La. Derby favorite

6. Samraat Jose Ortiz R. Violette 15-1

Upset possibility off very best

8. General a Rod Joel Rosario Mike Maker 15-1

Nothing wrong with Fla. Derby try

17. Candy Boy Gary Stevens John Sadler 15-1

No match for “Chrome” last time

15. Tapiture R. Santana Jr. S. Asmussen 12-1

Flattened out in Arkansas Derby

12. Chitu Martin Garcia Bob Baffert 20-1

Will factor into the torrid pace

3. Uncle Sigh Irad Ortiz Jr. Gary Contessa 30-1

Must make rapid improvement

7. We Miss Artie J. Castellano Todd Pletcher 50-1

Bred to be best on the grass

9. Vinceremos Joe Rocco Jr. Todd Pletcher 30-1

Hasn’t beaten this kind of rivals

2. Harry’s Holiday Corey Lanerie Mike Maker 50-1

Seems hopelessly overmatched

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Horse racing is about to find out.

California Chrome has done everything right in his last four races. He won by a total of 24 lengths, including a cruise-control victory in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby three weeks ago.

After California Chrome knocked off a quality field by five lengths, those who witnessed the performance were awed, including his 77-year-old trainer, Art Sherman.

"It’s kind of spooky," he told reporters. "I’m not used to that. I’ve seen my horses win, but not do what he’s doing."

Off his splendid recent form, California Chrome is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Derby’s 20-horse field. He will break from the No. 5 post position.

"That’s good enough for me," Sherman said. "I think it’s a perfect spot. … If we break clean, he’ll get out of trouble. He’s got a little gas leaving there, too."

Veteran jockey Victor Espinoza, who won the Derby in 2002 aboard 20-1 long shot War Emblem, will once again ride California Chrome.

What’s his strategy in a race loaded with horses who, like his own, perform best when positioned on or near the lead?


story continues below
story continues below

"Like every race — just come out of there running and play it by ear," Espinoza said.

Among California Chrome’s primary challengers will be Danza, exactly the kind of horse that usually has little chance to win the Kentucky Derby.

He is lightly raced.

He had a seven-month layoff between his 2- and 3-year-old campaigns.

He was a last-minute qualifier only because of a huge effort at astronomical odds in one of the final prep races.

Horses with Danza’s credentials are almost always the kind that can be quickly eliminated when trying to handicap the Derby. Three weeks ago, he appeared to have as much chance of winning as one of the Clydesdales.

But that changed in the Arkansas Derby.

After a rail-skimming ride by veteran jockey Joe Bravo, Danza went off at 41-1 and scored a shockingly easy five-length win over a field that included more highly regarded Derby hopefuls Bayern, Ride on Curlin and Tapiture.

It was an incredibly impressive performance.

Breaking from the No. 1 post, Danza stalked Bayern’s moderate pace before exhibiting a tactical burst of speed that could also serve him well in the crowded field at Churchill Downs.

Midway through the turn — before the jockeys on the front-runners even knew he was there — Bravo drove through a small hole on the rail and into the lead.

Next Page >

Yes, THAT Danza

Kentucky Derby contender Danza is named after actor Tony Danza, who is best known for his work on the TV series “Taxi” and “Who’s the Boss.”

On Dec. 28, 1993, Danza was involved in a horrific skiing accident at Deer Valley. He hit a tree at 50 mph and suffered life-threatening injuries, including five fractured ribs and a broken back. Danza’s first role after the accident — over a year later — was in the made-for-TV movie “Deadly Whispers.”

“The accident is legendary in Utah,” executive producer Leonard Hill said during a interview promoting the movie. “It was a major wipeout. I happened to be skiing up there a couple of weeks later and it got so well-known that they introduced a verb into the lexicon of Deer Valley: ‘to Danza.’ People will come down the mountain saying, ‘Boy, I Danza-ed going down the Rattler.’ ”



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.