Chrome Sweet Chrome

With trainer Art Sherman announcing his retirement last month, the recent announcement of the Secretariat Vox Populi winner, and ballots for the Eclipse Awards nearly ready to be sent out, they have all combined to trigger memories of two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, one of the most popular horses of our time who provided a whirlwind of emotions during and after his career. ~ Steve Haskin

Chrome Sweet Chrome

By Steve Haskin


On Friday, December 10, Art Sherman saddled his final runner. The 84-year-old trainer, who has been in racing for nearly 70 years, announced his retirement in November. Sherman will be remembered for his masterful job with California Chrome, getting this little-known California-bred , who was the result of a mating between an $8,000 claiming mare and a $2,500 stallion, to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and the hearts of a nation and eventually the world.

With the voting for this year’s Eclipse Awards getting closer, I couldn’t help but think of Sherman, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, but wound up exercising horses in California and traveling cross-county on a train with the great Swaps to the 1955 Kentucky Derby at the age of 18, sleeping in the straw next to the colt. I also had to think of California Chrome’s owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn who were just as unlikely to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness as their horse, being two ordinary working stiffs from Yuba City California and Topaz Lake, Nevada, who, as Coburn said, put “so much blood, sweat, and tears and savings into this horse,” turning down million-dollar offers for the colt before the Derby.  Together they wrote one of racing’s great Cinderella stories.

So, what does that have to do with the Eclipse Awards? Even in a world obsessed with statistics, which often take precedence over singular achievements far more profound than numbers, it is inconceivable that neither Sherman or Martin and Coburn were even named finalists for an Eclipse Award as trainer and owner in 2014 even though California Chrome was named Horse of the Year by a huge margin. That oversight was repeated two years later (with Coburn no longer a co-owner) when Chrome captured his second Horse of the Year title.

In 2014, Sherman was able to get this unlikely hero to win stakes in January, March, and April, then win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and a grade I stakes on Nov. 29. With help from his son and assistant Alan, he actually got California Chrome to win stakes from Dec. 22, 2013 to Nov. 29, 2014, including four Grade I’s and a Grade II and two Triple Crown events, and nearly pulling off the Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which Chrome was beaten only two necks, despite having had only one prep race since the Belmont Stakes. And he got nothing out of that prep race, while having to fly cross-country to Philadelphia and back to California.

Following the Classic, California Chrome captured the Hollywood Derby on grass, becoming only the second Kentucky Derby winner in history to win a grade I stakes on grass that same year. The other horse to accomplish that feat was Secretariat.

So, why was Sherman not even a finalist for leading trainer in the Eclipse Award voting, and why wasn’t Martin and Perry not a finalist in either the owner or breeder category? Once again, Eclipse voters went by statistics to come up with their three finalists, ignoring the exceptional individual accomplishments that actually made a major impact on the sport.

Did voters snub Martin and Coburn because of the latter’s unfortunate comments on national TV following the Belmont Stakes that caused a furor throughout the sports world? While Coburn, who was a minority owner in the colt, was attacked mercilessly on social media, few people saw his generosity with the fans, as he interacted with them, posing for photos and signing autographs. Watching him with the fans who cheered him outside the walking ring at Parx Racing before the Pennsylvania Derby, you would never guess this was a person who had been vilified so severely for his actions when a camera was shoved into his face immediately after the race at a time when he was emotionally vulnerable.

As for Sherman, there are times when statistics can be superseded by a single extraordinary feat of great national importance if one wishes to step out of the box once in a while. And has there been a better representative for racing than Sherman at a time when racing needed all the wit, wisdom, and conviviality that he provided all year. One meeting with Sherman and you felt as if you’ve known him all your life. He was the uncle you wanted to invite over for Thanksgiving. Those qualities normally do not equate to being named a finalist for an Eclipse Award, but his masterful job with California Chrome certainly did.

All three of these men authored one of the great fairy tales in racing history that was born on Feb. 18, 2011 at Harris Farms near Coalinga, California. That was when Love the Chase gave birth to her colt by Lucky Pulpit. But it was not an easy birth. The mare had lacerated the wall of her uterus and could not be re-bred that year. She was bright and active and outwardly unaffected by the ordeal, but she and her foal had to remain confined to the stall for an extended period of time while the mare was treated and recovering. As a result, the foal wasn’t able to be out with the others to socialize and run around, so he became more focused on people than he was on horses and developed an amiable personality that continued throughout his career and as a stallion.

Several days prior to the birth, Coburn had a dream the foal would be a big chestnut colt with four white socks and a big blaze face. When he went to see the newborn foal for the first time, his wife Carolyn walked over to the stall, took a look inside, and couldn’t believe what she saw. She told her husband to come take a look. There before him was the colt in his dreams. Coburn became convinced his deceased sister was the colt’s guardian angel and would guide him every step of his journey. He continued to believe that, and as a result he felt Chrome was invincible.

When California Chrome left his dam and went out on his own and later began training, he impressed Harris Farms trainer Per Antonsen.

“He always had a lot of class,” he said. “He was very precocious and very forward and never missed a beat. He was a sound horse; never had a temperature, never got sick, and never had a pimple on him the whole time he was here. He enjoyed training and I told the owners, ‘You’re going to have a lot of fun with this one.’”

Art and Alan Sherman began training the colt immediately after his arrival from Harris Farms. One morning at Hollywood Park, Alan, still not realizing what he had after only a few three-furlong breezes, was looking for a horse to work a half-mile in company with California Chrome. That would help him determine how fast and competitive the colt was. He found out that Eoin Harty was working one of his best 2-year-olds, on whom he was high, and was also looking to test him in company.

Harty went to the frontside to watch the work, while Alan remained on the backside, watching from the trainer’s stand. Harty was feeling good about the matchup, getting to breeze his colt with an obscurely bred Cal-bred. He felt that was the perfect scenario to make his colt look good and boost his confidence against a likely inferior opponent.

“I had Iggy Puglisi up on my colt, and when I heard Alan was looking for someone to work with his horse, I said, ‘Good, we’ll beat the tar out of this Cal-bred,” Harty said.

But what Harty saw was not what he expected. His colt worked well, but this other colt dominated his horse.

“After the work I said to Alan, ‘I don’t know what you’ve got there, but that is a very good colt,’”Harty recalled. “I’ve been around a lot of good 2-year-olds with Bob Baffert and then on my own and when you see something that catches your eye early on it really stands out. And that was an eye-catching work by that colt. As a trainer, when your good 2-year-old is outworked, it’s a terrible feeling, especially when he’s outworked by a Cal-bred trained by a low-profile trainer.”

Alan added, “Eoin was pretty high on his colt and Chrome just dusted him. I saw that and went, ‘Oh, damn, what have we got here?’”

The fun that Per Antonsen told Martin and Coburn they were going to have with the colt started early on and continued right up to the Kentucky Derby, which was an experience Coburn, Martin, and Art and Alan Sherman will never forget. The loquacious Coburn by then was one of the most recognizable figures in the sport, with his large white mustache and cowboy hat, and the spokesman for the colt, who had rattled off impressive victories in the California Cup Derby, San Felipe Stakes, and Santa Anita Derby.

Following the San Felipe, Martin and Coburn turned down a multi-million-dollar offer for half interest in the colt. When they received an offer of eight figures following the Santa Anita Derby, Coburn’s response was, “Last week, my answer was ‘no,’ and this week, my answer is ‘hell, no.”

California Chrome went on to score another easy victory in the Kentucky Derby. After the race, Martin was so proud to be able to share this moment with his 83-year-old mother Catherine, who was driven to Kentucky from Michigan by his brother. He stood by the rail and helped her into a wheel chair, then walked behind her as she was wheeled across the track to the winner’s circle. He tried hard to fight back the tears that were welling up and attempted to speak, but no words would come out. All he could do was shake his head and say with a quavering voice, “I have to go after my mom.”

Alan Sherman was trying to come to terms with his own emotions as he led California Chrome back to the barn area following the winner’s circle ceremonies, thinking about how special this was for his father after so many years of training mostly nondescript horses. He was breathing heavily walking on the track as the cheers from the crowd rained down on him and the colt. The wall of noise that engulfed him was drowned out by the thoughts and feelings swirling around in his head, as he tried to comprehend everything that had happened not only on this day, but over the past couple of months.

“It’s awesome,” he said, only able to get several short exclamatory phrases out at a time. “I can’t believe it; unbelievable… I’m at a loss for words… I’m just so excited… It’s amazing… This is so great. I can’t even imagine how my father feels right now.”

Art, after arriving in Kentucky, had gone to visit the grave of his beloved Swaps located behind the Kentucky Derby Museum to say a little prayer that California Chrome could become another Swaps. Several days later, at age 77, he became the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky Derby. He had found his Swaps.

Overwhelmed by the experience, he said as he was led to the interview room by four Louisville police officers, “This is pretty cool. I’ve never had a police escort before. You think about it, that you’re going to get lucky one day, but maybe it’s all fate somehow. I’m a big believer in fate.”

As Coburn said following the race, “Art Sherman has come full circle, from exercise rider of a California-bred that won the Kentucky Derby to training a California-bred that won the Kentucky Derby.” How could Sherman not believe in fate, which apparently has no timetable? After all, it only took 59 years for him to come full circle,

Yes, it truly was a time for California Dreamin.’ For Steve Coburn, his dream prior to the colt’s birth had become a prophecy; the ultimate fairy tale. For Perry Martin, his dream was to be able to share this experience with his mother. For Art Sherman, his dream had been guided by fate and the memory of Swaps and sleeping in the straw next to the horse on a cross-country train ride nearly six decades earlier. And while on the subject of fate, California’s Chrome’s broodmare sire Not For Love’s third dam is Intriguing, a daughter of Swaps. By being inbred to Intriguing through the great filly Numbered Account, it means that California Chrome is inbred to Swaps.

Art Sherman summed up the day and the experience best when he said, “I think of all my friends who have died and I’m so thankful that I’m here. I still have a lot of friends at the racetrack and I’ve been around a long time. But I’m still the same old Art Sherman…except I won the Kentucky Derby.”

When California Chrome triumphed two weeks later in the Preakness and approached the gates of the pantheon, it was evident that racing had undergone a brief, but dramatic change. This was not a time for bluebloods, but for blue collars. Not a time for nobility, but a couple of working stiffs whose stable name was Dumb Ass Partners. The silver spoons that fed racing’s giants for most of the 20th century were for now plated with chrome.

California Chrome’s career would go on to take many twists and turns, taking him all over the world, starting with a second-place finish in the 2015 Dubai World Cup and a stay in England, where he trained for months, but failed to make the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot due to a foot bruise. This was followed by Martin’s and Coburn’s breakup and the horse running under the name California Chrome LLC . Then came a resounding victory in the 2016 Dubai World Cup and a second Horse of the Year title before the colt’s retirement to Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky and  being shuttled to Chile for two years. Finally, in 2019, Chrome was sold to the JS Company of Japan, where he now resides at the Arrrow Stud in Hokkaido, with the stipulation that he be returned to the United States at the conclusion of his breeding career.

The story he has left and his legacy will be remembered for many years.

He is the only Kentucky Derby winner in history to be voted Horse of the Year at age 5 or older. That makes him a throwback, as not even the tough iron horses of the past who ran well past their 3-year-old year have accomplished that.

He also is the first Kentucky Derby winner to win multiple stakes after the age of 4 since Citation, who did not race at all at 4, and was dominated by Noor at age 5, but kept in training at age 6 in an attempt to become racing’s first millionaire.

He was the first horse to be voted Horse of the Year in non-consecutive years since John Henry in 1981 and ’84 and the first non-gelding in history to accomplish it (based on the nationally recognized Daily Racing Form/Morning Telegraph poll).

He is the only horse to win the Vox Populi Award twice. 

He became first California-bred to win the Kentucky Derby in 52 years.

As mentioned earlier, he is the only Kentucky Derby winner along with Secretariat to win a Grade 1 stakes on grass.

He is the only horse ever to win or place in two Breeders’ Cup Classics and two Dubai World Cups. (In his two placings in the Breeders’ Cup Classic he was beaten a total of three-quarters of a length).

His five victories in million-dollar races are second only to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, and he is the only Kentucky Derby winner to win two million-dollar races at age 5.

Finally, a feat that may never be duplicated is winning two legs of the Triple Crown and then winning six stakes as a 5-year-old.

We who love this sport realize that horses are embedded in our soul from childhood, whether through equine heroes such as The Black Stallion, Black Beauty, and Misty of Chincoteague or TV stars like Trigger, Silver, and even Mister Ed

How many children have hopped aboard their rocking horse and built up speed until they felt as if they were airborne. They no longer were sitting atop a piece of wood, but atop Secretariat or Seattle Slew, imagining what it would be like to ride or even own or train such swift and noble steeds.

Art Sherman, Steve Coburn, and Perry Martin started off with a cheap rocking horse hoping to get a few thrills and saw it come to life, turning into a beloved superstar who would take them on an unforgettable ride.

Sherman is now retired with a lifetime of special memories and Perry Martin is working on a book about Chrome’s adventures titled California Chrome – Our Story scheduled for release in 2022 (and available for pre-publication purchase in January at 

All we can hope for now is that California Chrome has a good and productive life in Japan and that some day we can be reunited with him at Old Friends or another home. He no longer will look like the Chrome we remembered on the racetrack or at Taylor Made Farm, but at least we will be able to see those flashy markings and reminisce about his brilliant career, his burnished coat that shined like copper in the sunlight, and the amiable way he welcomed visitors. But most of all we will remember all the joy he brought to so many.

Photos courtesy of Juan Ignacio Bozello, Eclipse Sportswire, Harris Farms, Joe Ulrich, and Courtney Stone


There will be no column next week because of Christmas, but I want to take this time to wish everyone a Happy Holiday and to remind you to watch Vox Populi Award winner Hot Rod Charlie make his next start in the San Antonio Stakes, December 26 before targeting the Dubai World Cup in March. ~ SH


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333 Responses to “Chrome Sweet Chrome”

  1. Lynda King says:

    Condolences to the family and friends of Billy Turner.
    He had courageously battled pancreatic cancer for some time.
    Many in the industry and sport (and fans) rallied around Mr. Turner with donations tp pay for his hospice care.

  2. Lynda King says:

    Positive news from Belmont Park/NYRA and a trial use of sensors that monitor the horse’s stride.

    “According to Palmer, there have already been several instances in which the data has provided trainers with crucial information about a developing issue reflected in a horse’s stride, leading to treatments that likely prevented a breakdown. In each of those cases, the problem was not obvious and apparent to anyone involved with the horse and was detected by StrideMASTER’s breakthrough technology.”

    • pro vet says:

      This is one of the things i do………for my “bad signs”………NOW it means something?
      One thing people still don’t get……..a leg is not broken , until it is broken. This narrative, that a bad ankle or bad knee causes breakdowns…… very misleading ………believe it or not, a horse feeling really good breaks down many times…….a horse with a hurt knee will protect itself, and not perform……
      Of course no one on here will know this……..

      Take a stick…….bend it……you will hear it crack……..the faster you go, the more the bone stress……………that is why many of these dumb studies try to show pre existing injuries cause breakdowns,…….they lack common sense………

      Why do you think horses win by 3……then come back and lose by 15?…………..a broken bone?

  3. Mary Lou says:

    Thank you for this piece on Art Sherman and California Chrome. I was fortunate to be able to see Chrome in May 2018 at Taylor Made and even got to feed him a carrot.
    On another note (since I wasn’t able to respond to your Facebook post on Billy Turner’s passing and Seattle Slew), reading that post reminded me of my older sister Marion, who recently passed. In the 50s she was my inspiration for appreciating horse racing. Her all time favorite was Seattle Slew. Since she was the only one in my family who followed horses, I will miss arguing and sometimes agreeing with her derby choices and her opinions of the sports all time greats.
    I do enjoy reading your columns and the responses here.

  4. Matthew K W says:

    Steve Billy Turner passed….trained the first undefeated Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, who missed the Kentucky Derby break, and weaved his way to the front from inside—and won for fun…fought with the owners, about bringing him west, after the Belmont, and was right–he lost by 16 lengths—they fired him after that…..replacement trainer ended up training 4 1/2 furlong races, at Los Al….but Doug Peterson had him good for his final race–the 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup, one of the greatest losses in Horse Race history—RIP Billy Turner.

    • Mike Relva says:

      Owners were a disgrace!

    • Davids says:

      Not to forget, prior to the Swaps Stakes, Slew was repeatedly sedated for an Xerox advertisement as well as being sedated during the flight to California. One can only imagine how that impacted on the colt’s performance.

    • Betsy Tarr says:

      Popping back in to express my condolences to Billy, who from everything I read, was a true gentleman. He handled Slew brilliantly -and probably never got the credit he deserved because Slew was just not well thought of post-Secretariat. Slew is my all-time favorite horse, outside of Man o’War,

      The Taylors made a very unfortunate mistake, shipping Slew out West after the TC, and then ultimately firing (along with the Hills) Turner. Terribly bad decision. I will never criticize them beyond that, however, because they loved Slew like nothing else – and they took care of him for the last years of his life when he needed them.

      I’m glad Billy isn’t suffering anymore. RIP

    • Jiffy says:

      Sad news. My sympathy to his family and friends.

  5. Coldfacts says:

    If the records at the time of the BC Sprint are correct. Sprint. JW and Dr. Schivel were undefeated for their combined 6 career starts over 6F. Five of which were in graded stakes. Aloha West won only a MSW from his 3 starts over the distance.

    Given Aloha West’s 6F resume. He had to be a top-class sprinter to win the BC Sprint, against the winner of a combined 5 graded stakes over the distance. To be the best one has to beat the best. And that’s exactly what Aloha West did.

    To win a G1 sprint against that caliber of competition has to represent something above ordinary. The disdain to which Aloha West is being subjected is wrong, very wrong. The patience that went into the development of this is champion needs to be properly acknowledge and rewarded. The owners of Aloha West must be wondering if their charge is chopped liver.

    If a talented horse can win impressively against overmatched opponents and is in the argument for Champion Sprinter. What’s the point of having the Breeder Cup featuring the best in the represented divisions?

    Does the Malibu carry more weight than the BC Sprint? The Factor recorded a NTR of 1:06.98 for 6F when breaking his maiden. Subject to correction there hasn’t benen a 1:06+ time for 6F since. That must have been a bigger WOW! moment than Flightline’s ridiculously easy win in the Malibu. The Factor returned in the 7F San Vicente to win in 1:20.34. That time remains the fastest for the stakes on dirt. In consecutive starts The Factor established record. But we have never seen anything horse like Flightline before.

    When Secretariat set the WR for 12F in the Belmont. Public reaction must have been. ‘WE HAVE NEVER SEEN ANTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE’ Two races later Secretariat was defeated by Onion the most unlikely opponent to do same.

    Arrogate disappeared from the 2016 Tavers Field en-route to destroying the 37-year-old 10F track record at Saratoga. Who did Arrogate leave in his wake? Certainly not the like of Baby Yoda. The list included the KD Runner-up/Preakness & Haskell winner; Belmont & A K Derby winner; Belmont runner up & Tampa Bay Derby winner; Curlin winner; KD 3rd place finisher/Risen Star & LA Derby winner and Jim Dandy winner. But we have never seen anything horse like Flightline before.

    Some of us find it difficult to go nuclear over Flightline’s performance because we have witness similar performances before and against more formidable opponents. A colt that makes a start every 3 or 4 months whilst enjoying judicious placements must be allowed to face the best before being crown king of the turf.

    • Matthew W says:

      The Factor,s maiden 1:06 4/5 was run over the Santa Anita dirt, that had replaced the synthetic Pro Ride surface, and it was the first day they had raced over the new surface…Same card Twirling Candy won Malibu by a nose, in 1:19 4/5, it was opening day—many, myself included—hoped the track would throw out those track records, the 1:20 track record of Spectacular Bid was eclipsed, a 5 length win over Flying Paster that had stood over 30 years. Hot Rod Charlie lost by a nostril, and he was coming back I doubt he has been eclipsed as most popular horse—my personal favorite horse is Express Train, when he loses he’s still my favorite.

      • Matthew K W says:

        Another reason you won’t see Flightline replace Hot Rod Charlie as the Vox Populai horse is Hot Rod RUNS, and Flightline doesn’t. John Sadler says he will be America’s horse, that he won an historic Malibu—historic horses do historic things–there’s this race coming up, with Knicks Go and Life Is Good—and Flightline is being mothballed again? Could you imagine if the Pegasus had Flightline, with those two? I know he just raced, and it was spectacular—he won easily, but they can’t make a race five weeks later? Would have been something! I saw Spectacular Bid, he ran 30 times….seemed like he was always spectacular—please don’t tell me about “America’s Horse”, if you’re plan is for a seven race career!

    • Matthew K W says:

      Aloha West could win the Eclipse–if he does, I wonder if he’ll be the first Eclipse winner who broke his maiden as a five year old.

  6. Lynda King says:

    Wishing everyone a happy, prosperous and safe New Year!

  7. Bill Dawson says:

    Good Day Coldfacts

    Your reference to the poem Desiderata, written by Max Ehrmann in 1927, are certainly words to live by. It’s been years since I last read the entire poem, it was quite refreshing. Thanks for sharing.
    BTW, my current top Derby contender is Rattle N Roll. He looked like the 2nd coming of Gunnevera, with that huge closing effort in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity. Due to an abscess in his hoof, RNR has not worked since that race. However, per Kenny McPeek, “he’s doing fine, just galloping but not ready to work”.
    Good luck Facts.

    • EddieF says:

      Gosh, Bill. No words from you for The Master of Misspelling about his post this morning taking the Master in Waiting to task for typographical errors? Seems that you didn’t learn much from your reading of “Desiderata.”

      Are you able to recall this exchange, beginning with my jocular reply to a typo-filled post by Coldfacts?:

      EddieF says:
      December 26, 2021 at 8:28 am

      It’s nice to see a race named for one of my all-time favorites, Fun Runner. His greatest victory was the Beeders Cup Vlasic where he beat Irrigate, Collectable, and East Coast. Without question he’s the best son ever of Randy Cide.

      Bill Dawson says:
      December 26, 2021 at 5:52 pm

      Ridiculing others for inadvertently mis-spelling a word (Fun/Gun) shows poor form on your part. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, “don’t give up your day job, you’ll never make it as a standup comic”. I’d venture to say Coldfacts has forgotten more than you’ll ever know about horse racing in general, and breeding in particular.

      • Mike Relva says:

        Did you scroll back and read my comments to Bill?

      • Bill Dawson says:

        Everyone makes “typos” now and then, so what? Time to move on and put your juvenile comments to rest.
        BTW, have you ever considered teaming up with Pro Vet and do a comedy act together. The only question; who will be the clown and who will be the straight man. I vote you for the clown, you certainly act like one. 🙂

        • EddieF says:

          I’d rather be a clown than a humorless hypocrite who hasn’t learned anything meaningful about the joy of life in 8 or 9 decades of it.

        • pro vet says:

          I’m with you on this one………do they know? Coldcuts is from another country?…..5th grade education?……..they in a different country, would make mistakes too…………these guys think they know alot………..
          Coldcuts’ spelling mistakes are the least of his problems…….it is the nonsensical content……..

          It is ok to act this way because Haskin likes him……….he agrees with everything he says………..

          • Discopartner says:

            “…these guys think they know alot…” – funny line.

            • pro vet says:

              Thanks……no one understands the humor i use………Old bill hates me because i called his fav horse an 877 lb horse………i was using humor to make a point about how he had a problem keeping weight on……..
              He gets mad…………
              But trolling him for not calling out his buddy?……..weak……..

              Eddie and M reiva……are like DARRELL AND THE OTHER DARRELL………one make a stupid joke……and the other replies “SNAP”…….

              • Bill Dawson says:

                I don’t hate anyone pro vet, and just to be clear, you referred to Code of Honor as a “877 lb Pony”. Well guess what, that Pony has gone on to win six graded races, and finished 2nd in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. In 20 starts he’s compiled a record of 7 wins, 5 seconds and two thirds, with earnings at close to 3 million dollars.
                That’s not too shabby for an 877 lb pony is it? 🙂

              • Discopartner says:

                Reply to provet: I just meant, it’s funny when someone who thinks he knows a lot, turns out not to. I can’t give a good example right now, but I’ve got vague recollections through the years, of such blowhards.

            • Mike Relva says:

              He believes he’s funny,also bright. He’s neither!

  8. Coldfacts says:

    I try very hard to understand the perspectives of others. I consider same to be of paramount importance when replying to views and opinions submitted in this forum. Meaningful exchanges hinge on the understanding of the basis on which opinions are formed.

    I consider myself an individual for which things should compute. The support for Hot Rod Charlie is something that just doesn’t compute for me. I have previously highlighted that there is no objective foundation for the level of support for the colt. Consequently, I have concluded his level of support is is driven by unbridled and misguided emotions. This was not an attempt to offend but I could arrive at no other conclusion.

    On Saturday last the colt suffered the 10th defeat of its 13-race career. The fact that a colt that has been defeated in >75% of its starts, is so popular has me wondering if something is seriously wrong with me. There has to be! There is no way to either slice & dice or spin this colt’s record to match the level of support.

    I guess greater effort is required on my part to adopt some of the teaching of poem “Desiderata”

    Remember what peace there may be in silence.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
    Dor always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

  9. pro vet says:

    I never said my opinion of winx……….I WAS not talking opinion… is the fact that they never gave her the chance that she earned………i am actually sticking up for the horse………..She never will not have an Asterisk. HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THIS?………….you don’t know many say this?……….you know people say she never went to face the best…..the point was, you have to give the horse the chance…….your opinions, my opinions dont matter………she deserved to prove it

    AUS is not the us or eng or france

  10. Matthew W says:

    “Jockey” opens this weekend…
    Filmed at Turf Paradise, about the hard life of an aging rider, and most jockeys aren’t wealthy…..they filmed “Let It Ride” at TuP, too.

  11. Matthew W says:

    McKinnon worked solid Sunday, dull track…horse knows what’s up, and if he takes to dirt he will have had plenty of experience, looks like will be in the Sham.

    • EddieF says:

      A 5-horse field in the Sham! Heavy favorite will be Rockefeller, who struck oil in the Remsen against a mediocre field. There’s no reason based on pedigree that Mackinnon shouldn’t take to dirt. His 4.5f dirt debut was nothing more than a workout, so no conclusions can be drawn from it. But he’ll probably be overbet like Rockefeller. Oviatt Class comes from too far back to be reliable. Could the turf/AW colt Degree of Risk (12-1 ML) be the ticket?

  12. Lynda King says:

    Steve and all, I wanted to make a small revision regarding Flightline’s injury. Last evening I did some additional research on the accident and learned this:
    In January 2020, Ingordo (blood stock agent who represented West Point Thoroughbreds in the purchase of Flightline) went to visit Flightline and other clients’ horses at Mayberry Farm in Ocala, Fla., an operation run by Jeanne Mayberry and her two daughters, April and Summer.

    “I’m watching these sets train and saw lots of beautiful horses,” he said. “I’m waiting for the next set and I hear this big crash, a loud bang. The Tapit colt scared himself, something startled him. He had his tack on and was ready to go out, but caught his butt on a stall door latch. It was a pretty deep wound and took a long time to heal. You can see that scar back there. One of those fluke things that will happen”.

    • pro vet says:

      Yes……it happened………do you believe that is why he started so late?……was off so long?…… probably have common sense, and know there must be more right?………i see no bad signs….its really a mystery………….
      someone said he has an ankle……who was that poster……where did they hear that?

      • Lynda King says:

        Thank you for your effort(s) to try putting words in my mouth and trying to tell me what I think.
        You seem to think that I need your guidance, your expertise(?); that you are the parent and I am your child.
        In response to your reply to me:
        1. I do not need confirmation from you that “Yes, it happened”. My post was simply a correction to what I had posted way down in the thread as to how the accident happened. It was not a run in with a “fence” as was reported but rather with the stall gate.
        2. Yes I do “think” that this accident most certainly was a set back for the colt while in training at Mayberry’s which in turn resulted in the change of plans for the colt to prep for the Derby.
        3. Yes, I have common sense BUT I do not know or suspect that there is “more”.
        One thing I do know is that we can wrap our horses in bubble wrap, put them in a padded stall with a 24 hour security camera and they will still find a way to get hurt.
        You always talk about the presence or absence of “bad signs” yet you never elaborate on what those “bad signs” are and when a horse fails, you quickly announce “I told you so!”
        I find the suggestion, which in some cases sounds more like a demand, that the colt’s connections ship him to the other side of the world to compete in the DWC as ridiculous.
        If the game plan for Flightline (as mutually agreed on by his trainer, Mr. Sadler and connections (Hronis, Summer Wind, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Thoroughbreds) is to run in the Met Mile and in at least three other races in 2022 and a desire that the colt not be rushed off to the breeding shed and return in 2023, then I am all for that.
        We cannot, as fans or horseplayers (which I am not), have it both ways. We cannot moan and groan and complain one minute that these colts (and fillies) should be given the opportunity to grow into and develop their full potential and race beyond 3 and moan and groan and complain when the connections plan to do just that results in fewer starts in the current year.
        Mr. Sadler has described Flightline as his “Zenyatta”. The connections have expressed hopes that the colt will be the next “America’s Horse”. Best wishes that their dreams are fulfilled.
        Me? I am just along for the ride.

        • Mike Relva says:

          Linda,obviously he’s an overblown narcissist.

        • pro vet says:

          You imply THIS IS WHY fLIGHTLINE WAS OFF, and why he is so lightly raced…………how long does a laceration take to heal?………..not that long……..
          I know HORSES………. why was he off that long? After his 1st race?……..AN ISSUE!……the cut healed long ago………there is a reason. Then he ran again………had a hoof problem and won this race……….4 race plan?

          Yet you dont think there is an issue………you somehow think i’m wrong knowing there is?

          Why do you think i’m wrong? I posted because your post was way too simplistic…..this horse must have an issue………the trainer is smart…….never talk about issues…….only bad can come from that…..

          Saying his issue was/is the laceration…… simplistic, and not logical

          • Matthew W says:

            Guy…..I didn’t read any offense to your OPINION, in her post…rather—it’s HOW you frame the question “…you probably have common sense, and know there must be more–right?”—-that’s a “trap” question, because if she does not agree with your presumption that he has some other issues, that have not been revealed….then she’s admitting to not having common sense, per your pre-loading the question, like that….it looked like a pretty nasty scar, to me, he began career in when…May? It seems logical to me, and Sadler did say he had a foot issue after his debut race, WHY do you think they’re hiding something?

            • Matthew W says:

              Your cryptic “bad signs”….my “common sense” tells me THATS hiding something….right?

              • pro vet says:

                What do you mean?……why ask what does bad signs mean?…….there are many …… want me to list all bad signs horses show?………..not eating…….where they stand in the stall… they walk……their coat…… they act…… they run……….

                Again…….who doesnt know there is an issue……….those guys argue everything……if people want to think the issue is his scar….fine…….believe what you want……listen to that opinion……..i know better

  13. Bill Harman says:

    >Exellent read,Steve!! & Thank you~ Yes I was a HUge Chrome fan back then and still. Along with Gun Runner & Maxfield.
    I Hope that You & Yours,Steve had a Great & Merry Christmass!!! & Have a Safe & Happy New Year!!!~ Enjoy the upcoming races…

  14. BlueWinner says:

    What a lovely story on Chrome and his connections. I did not know the story about Eoin Harty’s 2 year old and Chrome – thanks for telling that! Yes, Coburn got testy with a microphone shoved in his face and said something unfortunate, but he recanted and apologized. Has Baffert apologized to the industry for saying that ‘something is wrong’ with racing?
    No, he hasn’t.
    That is a BIG difference to me!
    Anyone can get emotional, but it takes a big person to admit you said something out of line and apologize.

  15. Matthew W says:

    A win in Dubal by Flightline….would include the winner’s purse, but—if you look at the race, in it’s 27, 28 race history, it usually has one top horse, sometimes no top horse…. a race like the Met Mile—especially a huge win, like Flightline produces, would be worth far more to the connections, in stud value, as well as historic value, PLEASE DON’T go to the middle east, with him! They took a historic Malibu, which is an important race to win, based on the horses who have won it….now go get The Met Mile, go get the important American races!

    • EddieF says:

      Matthew, I know next to nothing about stud value. I’m a racing fan and, as such, I want to see the best horses in the best races. You seem to be saying that there’s a choice between the DWC and the Met Mile — that racing in one precludes racing in the other. Are you saying that Flightline couldn’t race in March and again in June? For one thing, we’re really getting ahead of ourselves when we anticipate a year’s racing schedule. Flightline has raced just three times, and he hasn’t gone further than 7 furlongs. Sadler said that he wants four races from Flightline in 2022. Four? Over the course of a year, that would be a race every three months. Is that what top-class racing should look like? As for the DWC, it would be a full three months from the Malibu. Flightline COULD have a shorter race in between. If he proves himself around two turns in his next race, I see no good reason not to go for the winner’s share of a $12 million purse. The DWC isn’t a walkover for the best U.S.-trained horses, who have won only about half the time. Remember who beat California Chrome in 2015?

      I’m content to take Flightline’s path one race at a time. I hope the next race is sooner rather than later.

      • Matthew W says:

        The DWC is not a walkover for the best US trained horses? They win only half the time? You name Chrome, what were all of the other best US horses that were beaten? Seems like when the big favorite from US goes, they usually win, and win big….

        • Matthew W says:

          I disagree, about the “importance” factor of winning in Dubai….you name WINNERS, well I SAID there’s usually one top horse, that wins….easy money big wins….HOW is that important, besides the big money?

        • EddieF says:

          You are correct that when the very best of U.S. horses go to the DWC, they usually win, except for Chrome in 2015 and West Coast in 2014 (he was even money, I think). So? Why shouldn’t they win? They should win ANY big race they enter, foreign or domestic. You seem to have ignored the excellent foreign-trained horses that have won the DWC. It’s a G1 race at 10f with a huge purse. The best horses SHOULD go there. If they don’t, that’s their problem, or rather their connections’ problem. Also, are you making the assumption that Flightline will go straight from the 7f Malibu to the 10f DWC? If that’s the scenario, I would be against it. But he’s a racehorse. He should race!

          • Matthew W says:

            Best dirt racing is still in the US, some of the best US horses have won there, outside of Arrogate beating Gun Runner, and thats one race—those best US horses are not beating all that…the first Saudi Cup was a terrific field, but last year Jesus was 2nd choice!–why is it so important to you that Flightline go there, to race? Because those fields, top to bottom are not usually all that…so he crushes Jesus Team, would that satisfy you?

            • EddieF says:

              Tell me what major U.S. races for 3&up males are in the DWC time period. And tell me what U.S. races for 3&up males in the first half of the year have quality fields. The only race that CONSISTENTLY has quality fields is the BC Classic in November. I’d like to see the best U.S. horses go wherever the best races are.

              • Matthew W says:

                And you don’t realize, Dubai has lessened some major US races! I guess I’m biased, because I saw some terrific Santa Anita Handicaps, before Dubai….The Donn, used to be major….before Dubai….you toss aside the Malibu, The Met Mile….because they aren’t as major as a race in Dubai, and yet that makes my point…..using US racetracks as training grounds for Dubai….

                • Matthew W says:

                  Eddie, you say the ONLY consistently quality field is The Classic…don’t you understand, it didn’t used to be that way, here!

                  • EddieF says:

                    I do understand. I also understand that the past has passed. 😉

                    • Davids says:

                      So, Bernardini and Ghostzapper are no good because that failed to run in Dubai? Obviously, the best dirt horse since Spectacular Bid is Thunder Snow? Thunder Snow, the only horse ‘ever’ to win the Dubai World Cup twice.

                      You are conflating gross prize money with greatness which is not the same. The Europeans won’t fly their best horses around the world. Flightline has the potential to emulate Frankel – these rare champion horses make the race not extravagant prize money.

                      Matthew has the ‘history’ of horse racing on his side. The best dirt races will always be run in the USA.

                    • EddieF says:

                      Davids, if that is what you inferred from my series of comments, I must have done a poor job of expressing myself.

                    • Davids says:

                      Let’s make it simple. The connections of Flightline don’t consider the Dubai World Cup an important enough race to be on Flightline’s resume to risk such an endeavor. Furthermore, the connections believe a Met Mile win to be extremely important for the colt’s future at stud.

                      Most racing ‘old timers’ innately understand why Flightline’s connections are bypassing the Dubai World Cup for the more prestigious Met Mile. Stardom.

          • Matthew W says:

            Count me as one who would love to see him race—here.

          • Matthew W says:

            Dubai cuts out a big chunk of American racing…if they set up a $20 million dollar race in November, and cut a chunk out of the Breeders Cup, would you like THAT? Making American tracks training grounds, for mid east racing? A top horse races, say from March thru November…9 months….Dubai takes out 3 months…throw in Saidi Arabia—another month, or two….is that what you want? I don’t.

    • EddieF says:

      P.S. I think you’ll find that the 25-year history of the DWC has been far more “important” than the Malibu and the Met Mile during the same period, with winners such as Cigar, Silver Charm, Invasor, Curlin, Animal Kingdom, California Chrome, and Arrogate. And it’s at the classic distance of 10f.

      • Matthew W says:

        Of those Dubai winners you listed….Cigar…Silver Charm….Curlin….Animal Kingdom…Arrogate—-all seemed less brilliant, after Dubai…..

        • Davids says:

          Captain Steve was another, Bob Baffert confirmed the above himself.

        • EddieF says:

          I’m not sure why it matters in regard to the relative importance/quality of races that some DWC winners may have regressed after the race. Of course the rigors of travel may impact decisions to race abroad. As for Curlin, he won as many G1s after the DWC as he won before the DWC.

          • Matthew W says:

            Yeah, he did….but he didn’t crush them, like his 4 3/4 Classic, or his 8 length Dubai win, he was not the same Curlin! A lot more than “some” came back lessor, in my opinion.

        • Coldfacts says:

          Cigar –

          Won his first 2 starts after returning from Dubai. Lost his 3rd to Dare and Go a decent European import who had some ability as he won the Pacific Classic in 1:59+. Cigar won his 4th start. In his 5th he ran into the younger and talent Skip Away and had to settle for 2nd. In his final start he just got out run by 2 talented horses including record setting Preakness winner Lois Quatorize. He was an older horse by then with declining ‘T.

          Cigar run of consecutive wins wasn’t going last forever. He was beaten by younger and talented opponents. His perceive decline has nothing to do with his trip to Dubai.

          Curlin –

          Won his first start after returning from Dubai. Lost his 2nd in his only attempt on turf. Won his next 2 starts and lost his 5th on the Synthetic surface at SA Park. His 2 losses from 5 starts were on turf and All Weather. His losses couldn’t be attributed to his trip to Dubai as he won a all his starts on dirt.

          Unsupported assertions should be avoided.

  16. Mary Dixon Reynolds says:

    He took us on the ride of a lifetime!

  17. Matthew W says:

    The 2021 top Beyer #’s for two year olds were Shaaz (105) and Hopkins (104), same trainer (Bob) same race— Shaaz was IMPRESSIVE, catching Hopkins, who opened up at head of the stretch…..Shaaz looks like any kind!

  18. Matthew W says:

    Ran three times I’m guessing three or four more races Met Mile…Pacific Classic ( they like Del Mar) Classic thats all….

  19. pro vet says:

    No one loves spacing more than me……..but if it is true that he is skipping those 2 middle east races……..waiting for met mile. then i can’t believe it………..The middle east races are months away…….there comes a time, when you are robbing the horse’s legacy, history……..the HORSE deserves his shot at the big purses. He deserves it………DON’T LET HIM BE AN ASTERISK.

    wINX’S owners never let her prove it against the best……..she deserved her shot to prove it……..they robbed her……she will always be an asterisk……

    This horse is being shockingly careful………I’M VERY CONSERVATIVE. I believe in this way more than others……..but this is ridiculous…..the met mile is in JULY…………he might not make the cup……..he is an asterisk if he doesnt…….
    THE HORSE HAS EARNED HIS SHOT AT GREATNESS………….run in the middle east…..

    • Mike Relva says:

      Referring to Winx as ‘aserisk’. That says it all! lmao

    • Lynda King says:

      Winx with an asterisk? Spewed my unsweet ice tea upon reading that.

      • pro vet says:

        Yes……she will always have an Asterisk to many people……..this is not news, i didnt say my opinion. The POINT is…….she is subject to opinions………..she deserved to run against the best…….YOU think the best are in AUS……..others do not……

        That is what will happen to Flightline……..Opinions………”he beat nothing” “he was over rated” etc………..

        • EddieF says:

          Could you name a few of those “many people”? As for leaving Australia to prove her international ranking…What stopped the top fillies and mares around the world from shipping to Australia to race against Winx?

          • Davids says:

            “The world” have finally come to realize the prize money on offer in Australia and have attempted to win some of their plumb races, with somewhat limited success. Alternatively, Australian racehorses have been quite successful when attempting to win particularly major sprint races overseas.

            The old adage that Australian breds are ‘easy beats’ is a fallacy lost decades ago.

            • Lynda King says:

              Thank you.

            • Matthew W says:

              David’s I’ve seen Aussie newspapers, the sport page is full of pictures of the races, its a Horse Racing country— VETS being a Debbie Downer, about Winx, about Flightline. A Met Mile meeting with Life Is Good sounds great, to me….after that Pacific Classic, or Whitney….sounds great, to me.

              • Davids says:

                You’re correct Matthew. Racing in Australia is ingrained within the culture. Phar Lap put food on the table for thousands of families. Gunsynd had a top ten pop song written about him. An uncle of mine gave me an Australian Stud Book to study when I turned 7 and then quizzed me on it. Every corner store will have guys chatting about the races. Historic, Melbourne and Sydney races are shown live on commercial television – usually the whole card.

                Racing in Australia is the lingua franca that joins the nation.

                I agree with your speculation on race selection for Flightline. The connections want to make a statement whenever Flightline runs so that he makes “Front Page” news – this horse has that talent.

          • Mike Relva says:

            Seems I’ve picked up couple trolls.

    • EddieF says:

      Other than the Winx silliness, I agree with you. But…first, we don’t know what’s next for the horse. Sadler ain’t sayin’, other than maybes. Second, the horse obviously has issues. He didn’t debut until April of his 3yo season. His next race was 4+ months later, then nearly 4 months to the Malibu. What horse racing doesn’t need is a breakdown of a superstar, or a budding superstar.

      • Mike Relva says:

        Correct! Hopefully issues are behind him,but who knows.

      • Lynda King says:

        Flightline missed his two year old season and did not make his debut until April of his 3 year old season because he had an accident involving a fence as a high yearling. He has a scar on his right semitendinosus muscle (the area known as the rump and associated with the hamstrings). This muscle extends the hip, stifle and tarsus during weightbearing causing propulsion. When the limb is non-weightbearing, it flexes the stifle. The scar is an upside down y shape. The two branches of the y look to be 4-6 inches long each and the long branch or stem of the y about 8 inches in length. Hard to count the number of stitches from the photo of the scar but looks to be close to a 100. Trauma to this area is very, very painful and deep cuts to this area can take a long time to heal.

      • Lynda King says:

        The other lay off was because of a stone bruise.

        • EddieF says:

          Thanks for the info, Lynda. Regarding the fence accident: It occurred in late 2019? According to Equibase, Flightline didn’t have his first public workout until January 23, 2021. Regarding the hoof bruise: There are many kinds of bruises, and many levels of seriousness. More than a year off of training for the first problem and 4+ months between the first two races presents questions that we can’t answer. Then….what about the nearly 4 months to the Malibu? What was the issue for that? And if Flightline doesn’t race again for a few months, what will the reason be for that?

          There are many questions about Flightline that only the connections can answer. We’re left to wonder.

          • Lynda King says:

            Eddie, I do not have an exact timeline on the life so far of this colt other than he was born in March 2018 at Summerwind Farm, sold at the Keenland Yearling Sale for $1 million to West Point Thoroughbreds in August of 2019. He was sent to Mayberry’s in Florida for training (to ride). In January 2020 is when he was injured. The injury was described as being “pretty deep and took a long time to heal. As I mentioned above I have seen a photo of the scar and described the size, complexity of the wound and a guess at the number of stiches that were involved and how long recovery from such a wound. It was definitely a setback in the training schedule for the colt at Mayberry’s. It was a nasty, ugly injury. It is not inconceivable to me that he would have his first public work a year later with Mr. Sadler. Keep in mind that most of these Thoroughbreds today go to a training center to be broke to ride, really no trainer comes to mind who breaks these horses and trains them up to race.
            As to the stone bruise, you are correct. As a horse owner I know that there are different causes for a stone bruise and different levels of seriousness. A stone bruise can happen anywhere on the hoof wall or on the sole. Sometimes the bruise can abscess (which is what happened to Chrome in England).
            I honestly do not think that there is anything nefarious going on here with the colt. The owners, which include the breeder, Summerwind, all think that this is a very special colt, with lots of potential and they have no desire to rush him off to the breeding shed. He is simply being managed very carefully with the owners having a lot to say about how his career is managed.
            Additionally I have ready that his next race will be the Met Mile and three other potential starts (unnamed) in 2022 after that.

            • EddieF says:

              I wasn’t suggesting anything nefarious. It’s just that owners and trainers aren’t obligated to make public the details of their horses’ conditions. They have all sorts of reasons to keep info private. Bettors would like to know, of course.

              • Matthew W says:

                Sadler said “nothing big”, has happenedto him….

              • Lynda King says:

                Mr. Sadler said in an interview that the injury to his rump happened before Flightline came to him. It is very well documented that the incident happened at Mayberry’s. As to the stone bruise, that is a very, very common injury to all horses. I have two right now that have a stone bruise that were up close to the coronet band and are growing out which from that area, takes about a year.
                Yes, it is true that some trainers and owners keep health conditions very close to the vest. I can recall one very high profile horse from a few years ago that the trainer gave two different explanations for a horse in his stable favoring a leg and the truth was actually a third explanation.
                If the owners of a race horse have a long term goal of racing a colt or a filly past their three year old season which from what I have read the connections of Flightline want to do, then yes, the horse will be managed differently than one that run a handful of high profile races and is shooed off to the breeding shed at the end of the year.

          • Matthew W says:

            Sadler said, and it makes sense to me—after his 2nd start they discussed Breeders Cup but no stakes experience precluded him from drawing in, had they had a full field, and they decided not to crank him up.