One day in, and four races down, the Southern California jockey colony had only positive comments about Santa Anita Park's brand-new turf course with just more than a month to go until the Breeders' Cup.
Victor Espinoza, regular rider of 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome, said the 5-year-old California-bred has never been doing better as he prepares for a start in the Awesome Again Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 1 at Santa Anita Park.
Barn CC on the Del Mar backside had a party-like atmosphere Sunday morning—with a large group of connections and fans huddled around the 2014 Horse of the Year's stall—following what Sherman called the best performance of his career.
The Del Mar crowd roared as California Chrome put a head in front of Dortmund in the final turn of the $200,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) July 23, but little did they know the battle they were in store for in the stretch.
If there were any lingering doubts about California Chrome's condition in preparation for the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) after some less than sparkling recent workouts at Los Alamitos, he put those concerns away in a July 16 breeze at Del Mar.
Stellar Wind, champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, worked six furlongs in company under Victor Espinoza July 10 at Santa Anita Park in 1:14 1/5 in preparation for a rematch with Beholder in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar July 30.
The experiences all include airfare and a hotel stay for the Breeders' Cup, and experiences crafted by celebrity ambassadors' areas of expertise, spanning culinary events, celebrity, racing, and fashion.
In the $400,000 Vanity Mile (gr. I) on a hot day at Santa Anita Park, Beholder only broke a sweat because of the nearly 90-degree temperatures in Arcadia, Calif.
The May 7 silent auction at dozens of U.S. tracks featured framed, autographed photos of Secretariat and American Pharoah.
The two organizations have teamed up for this fundraising effort to offer the goggles signed by Victor Espinoza, Gary Stevens, and John Velazquez.
The Maryland Jockey Club April 29 said it will honor Zayat Stables, trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Victor Espinoza—the connections of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah—with the Preakness Special Award of Merit May 19 at the Alibi Breakfast.
"It's going to be hard," Espinoza said of tackling the Run for the Roses on Whitmore. "But you never know. As long as I have a horse in the race, I always think I can win the Kentucky Derby."
Victor Espinoza has committed to ride Whitmore in the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), co-owner Harry Rosenblum said April 20.
The supporters, known as War Emblem's "inner circle," gathered from across the country to meet the Derby and Preakness winner at a private reception.
Experience and strength carry Victor Espinoza to World Cup victory. read blog
Comments from California Chrome's connections after his victory in the Dubai World Cup, including Victor Espinoza's discussion of the saddle slipping. Courtesy Dubai Racing Club. Watch Video
Comments from California Chrome's connections after his victory in the Dubai World Cup, including Victor Espinoza's discussion of the saddle slipping. Courtesy Dubai Racing Club.
2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome returns from winning the 2016 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 26 at Meydan.
A year later, a year better for California Chrome, who impressively won the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 26 at Meydan Racecourse a year after a second-place finish in the world's richest horse race.
The finalists are jockeys Ramon Dominguez, Victor Espinoza, Garrett Gomez, and Craig Perret; Thoroughbreds English Channel, Kona Gold, Rachel Alexandra, and Zenyatta; and trainers Steve Asmussen and David Whiteley.
Smokey Image and Danzing Candy put on an unintentional preview of the March 12 San Felipe (gr. II) during their morning workouts Feb. 27 at Santa Anita Park.
Comments from Victor Espinoza after California's win in Dubai on February 25, 2016. Courtesy of Dubai Racing Club
California Chrome appears to be going into the Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I) in top form after rolling to victory by two lengths in a Feb. 25 handicap at Meydan.
Victor Espinoza, a 43-year-old native of Mexico City, has been selected by a vote of jockeys nationwide as the winner of Santa Anita's highly coveted 2016 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
Smokey Image just seems to find trouble working recently in the mornings at Santa Anita Park, and although that might make trainer Carla Gaines uncomfortable in the moment, it may end up being a blessing in disguise.
Smokey Image found company in the turn of his four-furlong breeze, as he and jockey Victor Espinoza moved inside of a three-furlong worker and stuck with their unexpected rival to the wire, covering the distance in :47 1/5.
Fox Hill Farms' undefeated Songbird will make her 2016 debut in the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 6 and will again be a commanding favorite when the gates open at Santa Anita Park.
A homebred California-bred chestnut, with blinkers on and Victor Espinoza in the irons, broke away from the field to win the $250,000 California Cup Derby Jan. 30 at Santa Anita Park. Sound familiar?
At any level of racing, there is something a bit magical about an undefeated horse. Make it a 3-year-old colt, and the mind goes to one place.
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah was named 2015's Horse of the Year and Champion 3-year-old male at the Jan. 16 Eclipse Awards
Photographer Michael Clevenger of the Louisville Courier-Journal has won a 2015 Media Eclipse Award for Photography for his picture of American Pharoah winning the 2015 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) to land the Triple Crown.
California Chrome, Gulfstream Park, Sunland Park, Delta Downs, Santa Anita & More! view slideshow
He had new co-owners and new silks, but California Chrome got his mojo back with a powerful victory in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park, his first start off a nine-month layoff.
In anticipation of his 2016 comeback in the Jan. 9 San Pasqual Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park, Taylor Made Stallions launched the new official home on the web for California Chrome Jan. 6 at TheChampIsBack.com.
- By Blood-Horse Staff
- Thoroughbred Racing, Thoroughbred Breeding, Breeders' Cup, Triple Crown, Southeast Region
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is a finalist in the Horse of the Year and 3-year-old male categories for the 2015 Eclipse Awards, recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing.
Immediately after California Chrome's final workout in preparation for the San Pasqual Stakes (gr. II), trainer Art Sherman stayed quiet, but his eyes widened in excitement.
Watch 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome work at Los Alamitos Dec. 27, 2015 with Victor Espinoza. watch video
California Chrome's workout Dec. 27 at Los Alamitos Race Course looked a lot like his drills of old, with the track empty as he stepped onto the dirt surface, but it also had a touch of something new.
California Chrome drilled down in his latest Los Alamitos workout Dec. 12, covering five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at the Southern California track.
South Africa's reigning champion rider, Gavin Lerena, booted home the last two winners to take top honors in the Dec. 9 Longines International Jockeys' Championship at a rain-soaked Happy Valley Racecourse.
Trainer Bob Baffert accepted the Big Sport of Turfdom Award on behalf of the American Pharoah team Tuesday, Dec. 8 during a lunch presentation at the Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming in Tucson, Ariz.
Horse of the Year California Chrome is "preparing himself really well" for a comeback, according to trainer Art Sherman after the Lucky Pulpit colt breezed five furlongs in 1:01 Dec. 5 at Los Alamitos.
British-based Frankie Dettori has been named the Longines World's Best Jockey for 2015, besting U.S. Triple Crown-winning rider Victor Espinoza and British-based Ryan Moore for the title.
California Chrome continued training toward his scheduled return in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 9 with a half-mile breeze in :48 2/5 Nov. 28 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
After less-than-ideal runs in his last three graded stakes tries, Midnight Storm returned to form in standout fashion Nov. 27 at Del Mar, but he also showed a slightly different dimension.
East Coast shipper Rusty Slipper provided an upset in the $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Del Mar Nov. 21, closing in the stretch to capture the 1 3/8-mile turf test.
Headed by Victor Espinoza and Ryan Moore, some of the world's top riders will compete in the Longines International Jockeys' Championship Dec. 9 at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong.
Award recognizes American Pharoah's connections for enhancing Thoroughbred racing coverage through cooperation with media and racing publicists.
Comments from the connections of 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic winner American Pharoah, including Bob Baffert, Ahmed Zayat, and Victor Espinoza. Watch Video
American Pharoah, the first Triple Crown winner to run in the Breeders' Cup, went out an emphatic winner Oct. 31 at Keeneland.
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