Horse owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn dubbed themselves the Dumb Ass Partners after everyone who knew anything about racing told them they were out of their minds to pay $8,000 for a mare, Love That Chase, who had only won one race in six starts. Yet, despite all the naysayers, the two had analyzed her blood lines and believed she could produce a winning colt.
Coburn, who celebrated his 61st birthday on Saturday, the day of the race, dreamed that California Chrome was going to win the Derby before the chestnut colt was foaled on
February 18th, 2011. The two set about a plan to make the dream happen, choosing an old school horse trainer named Art Sherman.
Saturday was only the second time Art Sherman had ever been to the Kentucky Derby. The first time was in 1955, when Art was a teenaged stable boy. He traveled from California to Kentucky in a railroad car with Swaps, the horse who eventually went on to win the Derby that year, literally sleeping with the horse and taking him out for morning walks. Sherman went on to ride as a jockey for 23 years and became a trainer in 1980. Although he had success as a trainer, he had never made it back to the “Big Show” of horse racing.
Sherman said California Chrome reminded him of Swaps and before the race, he visited the Kentucky Derby Museum, where Swaps remains are held. "When I went over to Swap's grave the other day. I said a little prayer and it came true." Sherman said.
On Saturday, he became the oldest trainer ever to win the Derby. He is 77.
"Art Sherman has come full circle," said Coburn.
A lifelong dream coming true on your 61st birthday? Finally getting a second shot at something at the age of 77?
Just more reasons I love horseracing.