California Chrome draws post five for Kentucky Derby

Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:24pm EDT
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(Reuters) - California Chrome was installed as the early short-priced favorite for Saturday's 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs after getting a perfect starting gate at Wednesday's post position draw.

Oddsmakers immediately installed the three-year-old colt as the 5-2 choice for the $2 million classic when he drew barrier five in the 20-horse field.

Trained by 77-year-old Art Sherman, California Chrome was already looming as the likely top pick after romping to victory in each of his three races this year.

And jockey Victor Espinoza, who won the 2002 Kentucky Derby on War Emblem, said the post position was a good omen for his chances of winning a second "Run for the Roses" on Saturday.

"The last time I won the Kentucky Derby I was number five so hopefully that's my lucky number," he said.

"He's just an amazing horse to ride. I just let him do his own thing and I think he likes that.

"I really don't go against him during the race and I think that's why he's running so great."

Hoppertunity, which finished runner-up to California Chrome at the Santa Anita Derby on April 5, was installed as the second choice on the betting markets at odds of 6-1.

The colt drew nicely in post 11 and jockey Mike Smith, who won the 2005 Kentucky Derby on long-shot Giacomo, said he had improved a lot since his last run.   Continued...