California Chrome won the Dubai World Cup in convincing - if not dominating - fashion yesterday, picking up a cool $6 million and adding a jewel in what was already a tremendous crown resume.
I am an unabashed Chrome fan; I love his constitution, his toughness, his will to win. I expected him not to do what he did, and although I might not be the greatest handicapper in the world, the fact he blew away my expectations only adds to my respect for the horse.
With the win, as Sid Fernando notes so well today, not only was the smashing victory good for the horse, it was good for his stud career. The new owners who took a shot on this horse made out great, even if he is retired tomorrow.
Smiles all around.
Well not really. After the race social media exploded, not with last year's #bringhomechrome tweets, but with #whatthehellperry? tweets. Co-owner Perry Martin's post race interview made the rounds and the crowd was none too pleased.
In a nutshell, Perry appeared mad at Victor Espinoza for being "five wide" (he was four wide, but when trips go bad we owners are prone to hyperbole), and mad at Chrome for not beating the track record by more than two seconds. He said he didn't care about the money, but then went on to ask for a win so he would not have to pay for a Breeders' Cup entry fee, listed the horses who have made more money than Chrome that he wants to beat, and seems stoked for some "$12 million race" Stronach might put together at Gulfstream.
I kind of wish the interviewer asked him more questions, just to see if ol Perry truly is the most sour winner in the history of horse racing.
"What do you think of Secretariat?" - 'People like to talk about his Belmont win, but I can't get past his Whitney'.
"Thoughts on Tom Durkin?" - 'Good but too baritone'
"Other than you, who is your favorite owner?" - 'Mattress Mack'
I jest, of course.
Like many of you I abhor political speak and milquetoast answers from trainers and owners who say a lot, but end up saying nothing at all. Maybe Perry was trying to be cool, or funny, and maybe social media's reaction to his interview is all wrong and much ado about nothing. But it was, at best, a little odd.
Jessica Chapel yesterday tweeted that she hopes California Chrome gets a biographer with the talent of Bill Nack to write something about the horse. I agree completely. This horse, as an 1,100 pound beast is special on his own, but the stories around him tell an entertaining tome that needs to be told.
Perry Martin can say what he wants to say, any way he wants to say it. He owns the horse and it's a free country. It might rub people the wrong way and social media might not love him, but it doesn't trump how they feel about his glorious horse. And clearly, it's nice that people are talking about the interview so much. It proves there's passion out there for the sport of horse racing. I'd be more concerned if there was deathly silence.
Big races, great horses, and the sometimes circus that surrounds them makes us all feel alive; reminds us why we like this game. Yesterday's win had just about everything we could ask for.
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