The 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome made history winning the richest horse race and becoming horse racing’s biggest money earner in North America. On Saturday evening, March 26, 2016, Dubai time, California Chrome with jockey Victor Espinoza made his second and successful attempt at the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winning the 1 1/4-mile dirt trek race by 3 3/4 lengths, running 4/5 wide in a record-breaking time of 2:01.83 for any race at the Meydan Racecourse. Over his four seasons, Chrome has earned $12.5 million in winnings with 6 million from the World Cup and another $2 million from his second place at the same race in 2015.
The 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, Chrome broke out from post 11 out of a field of 12 with a large American contingent. Longtime Chrome jockey Espinoza brought Chrome out of the gate to run “third-four-wide” which he maintained at the first turn, and was third wide at the second turn, before urging the horse to lead after the last turn leaving the rest of the field in the dust. Espinoza managed to steer Chrome to victory despite his saddle slipping off to Chrome’s back in the last stretch.
Throughout the race, Mshawish and jockey Frankie Dettori were riding in first place along the rails. Late in the race, Mubtaahij pushed ahead along the rails and ended up finishing second, while Hoppertunity finished third. Mubtaahij (16-1) was ridden by jockey Christophe Soumillon and his trainer is Mike de Kock, and Hoppertunity (25-1) is trained by Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert. As for the other American horses in the race Frosted finished 5th, Mshawish 6th and Keen Ice 8th.
Triple Crown winning Jockey Espinoza spoke to reporters after his victory about Chrome’s stellar performance. Espinoza said, “I was wide but it was comfortable, he did everything right. Perfect. Sometimes it is better to be wide than on the inside and everything went well, I stuck next to the leader…. I could feel the saddle slipping so I kicked for home earlier than I wanted, it went quite far back…. I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone, it means a lot.”
After the race Chrome trainer Art Sherman expressed, “He’s a great horse. What can I say? Just to have him here with all my friends and family is so great.” Majority owner Perry Martin seemed less surprised and more confident about Chrome’s win but was anxious with Espinoza riding Chrome three or four wide throughout the race. After the race, Martin commented to the press, “I was thinking, ‘Damn you, Victor. Five wide the whole way,'” Martin’s “anxiety vanished” at “200 meters before the finish line.”
Before the race, Chrome had $6.5 million in earnings, with the Dubai World Cup winner’s purse of $6 million; Chrome will have a total earning of $12.5 million. Chrome now exceeds the previous North American titleholder Curlin who won the World Cup in 2008 and had a total career earnings of $10.5 million. Martin commented they plan that Chrome will not only be the biggest earner in North America but the world. Martin said, “I believe we have three Japanese horses to pass. I believe we’ll do that before the end of the year.”
The win is sure to please Chrome’s legions of loyal fans called Chromies. Chrome is only the third Kentucky Derby winner to win the Dubai World Cup previously Silver Charm and Animal Kingdom won the race. The next primary goal for Chrome is the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic at the end of October beginning of November at Santa Anita Park in California, Chrome’s home turf.