Taking charge at the top of the lane, California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza made a decisive move late in the race and quickly sprinted clear. They finished the 1¼ miles in 2:03.66.
The 5-2 favorite stretched his winning streak to five and Art Sherman, 77, became the oldest winning Derby trainer. It was the second Derby win for Espinoza, who rode War Emblem to victory in 2002.
"I thought he rode him perfect. I never gave him any instructions. I just said, 'You know this horse, go for it,'" Sherman said.
In a game dominated by millionaires and billionaires, this was a victory for the little guys. Owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn bred an $8,000 mare to a $2,500 stallion to win the world's most famous race with their one-horse stable.
Espinoza had California Chrome sitting comfortably in third in the 19-horse field as Uncle Sigh and Chitu set the pace.
California Chrome made his move on the final turn in tandem with Samraat. It looked like those two would decide the outcome, until California Chrome sped away, winning by 1¾ lengths.
Long shot Commanding Curve rallied for second, with Danza third. Wicked Strong was fourth.
California Chrome paid $7, $5.60 and $4.20. Commanding Curve, 37-1, returned $31.80 and $15.40, while Danza paid $6 to show.
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