California Chrome Wins Kentucky Derby With Ease; Commanding Curve Comes In Surprise Second

In an outcome that surprised few, California Chrome won the 140th annual Kentucky Derby on Saturday. He broke away from the competition and sailed to victory with little difficulty, becoming the first California-bred horse to win the competition since 1962. Art Sherman, the horse’s 77-year-old trainer, is now the oldest trainer to have won the Derby, while this was the second victory for the horse’s jockey, Victor Espinoza, who won the 2002 race on War of Emblem.

On the eve of the race, California Chrome was the 5-2 favorite to win; those odds gradually increased to 2-1 as the day progressed. As he’d also won his last four races, his victory on Saturday wasn’t unexpected.

“[California Chrome is] the favorite, and deservingly so, “ said Jennie Rees at the Courier-Journal prior to the race. “Some years it’s tough to come up with the derby favorite. Not this year.”

More surprising than California Chrome’s win was the second place showing of Commanding Curve, who entered the race with 37-1 odds of placing. In third place was Danza, followed by Wicked Strong.

The event drew 164,906 attendees — the second largest crowd in Kentucky Derby history — and unlike last year, was a rain-free affair.