Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Odds-on favorite California Chrome proved too much for his competition Saturday as the 3-year-old easily won the 1 1/8- mile, $1 million Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park.
Coming off a win in the San Felipe Stakes, California Chrome was sent off as the 7-10 favorite in the eight-horse field. The colt showed that he was easily the best Kentucky Derby contender on the West Coast as he put away his rivals down the stretch and collected 100 points from the Kentucky Derby points system.
Trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome dueled with 33-1 longshot Dublin Up through the first part of the race. The favorite put away the field on the final turn and simply cruised down the stretch to register a 5 1/4-length victory and go to the head of the 2014 3-year-old class.
"Right now, he's kind of freaky and I'm enjoying it. I can't believe the races I've been seeing. A length or two might have been all right with me," Sherman said.
Rebel Stakes winner and 4-1 third pick Hoppertunity was second 3 1/2 lengths ahead of 5-2 second choice Candy Boy. Dublin Up held on to fourth followed by Big Tire, Rprettyboyfloyd, Friendswith K Mill and Schoolofhardrocks.
The time for the Santa Anita Derby was 1:47.52 on a fast track.
"I put him in the race right away. I didn't want to get stuck in traffic. It worked out well," Espinoza said.
Owned by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome recorded his fourth straight win, all stakes, and added $600,000 to his earnings. The chestnut colt has won six of 10 career starts for $1,134,850.
California Chrome had a 5 1/2-length victory in the California Cup Derby at Santa Anita on Jan. 25 and won the San Felipe by 7 1/4 lengths on March 8. The colt won the King Glorious Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths in Hollywood Park's final stakes on Nov. 22.
California Chrome returned $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10. Hoppertunity paid $4.00 and $2.60, and Candy Boy paid $2.40 to show.