Anne M. Eberhardt

New York City Welcomes Chrome's Connections

Steve Coburn, Art Sherman continue hectic pace as their colt prepares for Belmont.

On his first day ever in New York, Steve Coburn, part owner and breeder of California Chrome , was interviewed by NBC and spent the rest of the time as a tourist.

"It's been go, go, go since we got here" for Coburn and his wife, Carolyn, who took a tour of Rockefeller Center and the Empire State building on June 3. They are in the city to see California Chrome take aim at the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7 at Belmont Park attempting to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

Coburn arrived in New York by jet along with trainer Art Sherman the afternoon of June 2 and spent his first night adjusting to the time change from the West Coast. Coburn and his wife reside in Topaz Lake, NV., where he is a press operator for a small company that makes magnetic strips for credit cards.

Sherman accompanied the Coburns on the interview and also went sightseeing with them.

The enthusiastic and accommodating Coburn, in his customary cowboy hat, took a few minutes to discuss his trip as California Chrome walked the shedrow following his morning gallop June 4. The standout winner of the first two jewels of the Triple Crown was cooled out following his morning bath.

"This is my first time to see him gallop since we got here and he looked very, very well," Coburn said of California Chrome. "I believe we are gonna make history."

Coburn was happy with the reception he and his horse are receiving in New York.

"We've met some very, very friendly people," he said. "You hear stories about New Yorkers and how rude they can be but that has not what we're experiencing."

Coburn has predicted that California Chrome will complete the Triple Crown sweep June 7 and seems more assured than ever as the big day approaches.

"I can see it in him," Coburn said. "To me, it looks like he's more confident. He's actually gotten bigger (through the Triple Crown series). He really relaxes, which is a big advantage. He's very smart and he knows what's fixing to happen."

Coburn was planning to meet Larry and Maryanne Williams, the breeders of California Chrome's sire, Lucky Pulpit, for a visit to the taping David Letterman's "The Late Show" later in the day. Jockey Victor Espinoza is to be interviewed for the program.

He said co-owners and breeders Perry and Denise Martin were also scheduled to arrive from California later the evening of June 4.

"(Perry) says, 'Steve, you just keep doing the talking and I'll take care of the business end," Coburn said of the reserved Martin.

"There's so much going on," Coburn added, noting that he has approved a deal for California Chrome bobbleheads and an endorsement deal with the Skechers shoe company.

He said he's pulling for a California Chrome victory, of course with Ride On Curlin  and General a Rod  in the trifecta, since those are the other horses that will have run in all of the Triple Crown races.

Sherman spent several minutes petting California Chrome as the charismatic chestnut with the distinctive white blaze made his rounds around the barn.

"He's been doing great (since arriving in New York following the Preakness)," Sherman said of California Chrome. "He's training very well at Belmont."