California Chrome was a clear-cut and dominant winner Saturday as the 5-2 favorite in the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.


Commanding Curve, a 37-1 shot, rallied to finish second, 1 3/4 lengths behind California Chrome. Danza was third, Wicked Strong was fourth, and Samraat was fifth in a field of 19 3-year-olds. Getting a perfect stalking trip under jockey Victor Espinoza while making 77-year-old Art Sherman the oldest trainer ever to win the Derby, California Chrome finished the 1 1/4-mile distance in 2:03.66 over a fast track, well off the Derby record of 1:59.40 set in 1973 by Secretariat.

Bred and owned by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome returned $7 to win in becoming the first California-bred horse to win the Derby since Decidedly in 1962.

“He just gave me the biggest thrill of my life,” Sherman said to NBC Sports immediately afterward. Sherman, a former jockey and an exercise rider for 1955 Derby winner Swaps, was running a horse in the Derby for the first time.

It was the second Derby victory for Espinoza, who previously won in 2002 with War Emblem.

Uncle Sigh and Chitu set the early pace through moderate fractions, with California Chrome always poised to strike. Leaving the quarter pole, California Chrome quickly seized command, leaving only the minor placings in doubt. Commanding Curve closed strongly to prove second-best in finishing 1 1/4 lengths before Danza. Wicked Strong, another 2 3/4 lengths back, was up in the final jump to get fourth from Samraat.

Commanding Curve, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, became the second straight longshot runner-up in the Derby for trainer Dallas Stewart after being on the “bubble” for weeks prior to the race. Last year, Golden Soul was second behind Orb at 34-1 for Stewart. (