Robert S. Evans' Tonalist was making just his fifth lifetime start in Saturday's 146th edition of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes but that didn't stop the Tapit colt from running down Commissioner to post a head win in the "Test of the Champion."
Kentucky Derby and Preakness hero California Chrome will break from post 2 in Saturday's Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, where he will aim to end the Triple Crown drought that racing fans have endured since Affirmed's conquest in 1978. The flashy chestnut has been installed as the 3-5 favorite to make history in the 1 1/2-mile classic at Belmont Park, both the oldest and longest of the jewels of the Triple Crown.
California Chrome continued to strut his stuff in Saturday's $1.5 million Preakness Stakes, posting a comfortable 1 1/2-length decision, and the phenomenal three-year-old can become only the 12th Thoroughbred to capture Triple Crown when he lines up for the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.
"He's an amazing horse," jockey Victor Espinoza said.
Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's homebred California Chrome carved his name in the history books Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs, earning himself the right to sleep in until 6 a.m. (EDT) Sunday morning in Barn 20 at Churchill Downs.
CALIFORNIA CHROME (1st) – The chestnut colt California Chrome carved his name in the history books Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs, earning himself the right to sleep in until 6 o’clock Sunday morning at his Barn 20 new Kentucky home.
Second-Highest Attendance in Track History as 164,906 fans pack historic Churchill Downs
It was perfect weather for the 140th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands as 164,906 fans, the second-highest attendance in Derby history, packed historic Churchill Downs Racetrack to watch California Chrome win America's Greatest Race.
Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's favored California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, took command at the head of the stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length victory over Commanding Curve to win the 140th running of the $2,202,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I).
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, winning this year's Kentucky Derby, the 140th Kentucky Derby, Art Sherman, the winning trainer. You are the oldest man ever to saddle a Kentucky Derby winner. A nice bookend from 1955.
Steve Coburn and Perry Martin's homebred California Chrome lived up to all expectations with a scintillating victory in Saturday's 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. In the process, the gleaming chestnut made 77-year-old Art Sherman the oldest trainer to ever saddle a Derby winner.
"He gave me the biggest thrill I ever had in my life," an emotional Sherman said.
Owner-breeder Morton Fink's reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan survived a tense stretch duel with Seek Again to prevail by a head and become the second two-time winner of the $559,100 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Grade I).
Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence's Central Banker fought off repeated bids from Shakin It Up in a stretch duel to win the 80th running of the $464,800 Churchill Downs (Grade II) Presented by Twinspires.com by a head.
Glen Hill Farm's Global View caught Storming Inti in the closing strides to win the 23rd running of the $294,500 American Turf (Grade II) Presented by Ram Trucks for 3-year-olds by a neck.
Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman's Midnight Lucky, making her first start in more than 11 months, took the lead out of the gate and scored a dominating 4 ½-length victory over Street Girl in the 28th running of the $330,600 Humana Distaff (Grade I) for fillies and mares, the first of three Grade 1 stakes on Kentucky Derby Day.
Amerman Racing Stables' Coffee Clique squeezed through an opening along the hedge to surge past longshot Dame Marie to score a half-length victory in the 29th running of the $336,900 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (Grade II) Presented by Longines for fillies and mares, the first of six graded stakes on Kentucky Derby Day.
UNTAPABLE – With an authoritative 4 ½-length win in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable made a case that she could be the top 3-year-old in the nation, male or female, regardless of the result in today’s Kentucky Derby. The Tapit filly remains undefeated, and virtually unchallenged, in 2014 and her final time was a mere .04 seconds off the Oaks record set by Bird Town in 2003.
The greatest two minutes in sports. The build-up for the Kentucky Derby is finally over and the horses will line up in the Churchill Downs’ starting gate at 6:24 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.
Steve Asmussen, trainer of Untapable, winner – What makes her special?
"How fast she is."
"On this stage under the circumstances...the filly in the gates, the paddock, how congested it is, how many people are here, this doesn't get any bigger."
Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC's Untapable cruised to a 4 ½-length victory over My Miss Sophia to win the 140th running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies before a crowd of 113,071. The attendance was the third largest in Oaks history.
Ramona Bass' A Little Bit Sassy pulled away from Istanford late to prevail by 1 ¼ lengths and win the 29th running of the $171,750 Edgewood Presented by Forcht Bank for 3-year-old fillies.