Preakness next up for California Chrome |

Preakness next up for California Chrome

by Dave Price
Steve Coburn greets well-wishers last weekend as he stops for breakfast at Hamdogs Restaurant in Gardnerville.
Brad Doman |

Nearly a week after watching California Chrome run to victory at the Kentucky Derby, Steve Coburn was still trying to catch his breath — and to keep up with all the well-wishers.

“It’s just been mind-boggling with all the phone calls and emails,” Coburn said Friday after greeting friends at Nevada State Bank, where a number of California Chrome photos were placed on display. “I’m close to losing my voice … I think I’ve talked to everybody in the world at least once, maybe twice.”

The Topaz Lake resident flashed a wide grin, and rightfully so, as California Chrome is expected to be favored Saturday at the 139th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Track in Baltimore — Saturday the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown. The race can be seen at 1:30 p.m. on NBC.

California Chrome, with jockey Victor Espinoza and 77-year-old trainer Art Sherman, has won five stakes races in a row by a combined 26 lengths, including his 13/4-lengths victory May 3 at the Kentucky Derby.

Coburn co-owns the 3-year-old colt with his wife, Carolyn, along with Yuba City, Calif., residents Perry and Denise Martin in a partnership known as DAP Racing.

California Chrome arrived at Pimlico on Monday afternoon, according to the website. He is attempting to become the first California-bred horse since Snow Chief in 1986 to win the Preakness and the first to ever win the Triple Crown. Only three other California horses have won the 13⁄16-mile Preakness — Candy Spots (1963), Kalitan (1917) and Old England (1902).

“I think he’s ready to run,” Coburn said. “He’s looking great.”

Coburn, a Douglas County resident for more than 20 years, extended his gratitude to the many hometown fans. A NBC television camera crew even came to town the Monday after the Derby and followed Coburn as he went through his daily routine, including breakfast at Hamdogs Restaurant.

“I just want to thank everybody in the Valley for supporting California Chrome, DAP Racing and our dream.”