If California Chrome wins the Belmont Stakes this weekend, veteran race horse trainer Sherman will become the second Jewish horse trainer in history to win the three major events in the US Classics calendar.
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Art Sherman has seen and done a lot in his close to sixty year career as a jockey and trainer, with a clear record of well over 2000 wins.
Now 77, Sherman’s career as a trainer has certainly reached its peak, becoming the oldest in his profession to ever win a Kentucky Derby with one of the horses that he trains , California Chrome.
California Chrome followed up that victory just a few weeks later by winning the second stage in the 2014 Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes held at the Pimlico Race Course in Maryland, Baltimore, at the same stage extending its winning streak to six races, including the Santa Anita Derby and the San Felipe Stakes for its owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, themselves modest businessmen, hailing from a small Nevada town near Lake Tahoe.
Ironically, when California Chrome was just a two-year-old, Martin and Coburn originally approached Art Sherman’s son, Alan about training their promising colt. At that time Alan Sherman was only training horses a part-time basis, so he approached his father. Alan and they agreed to take on the training of California Chrome as a joint venture.
Thanks to the success that they have enjoyed to date, the father and son team have established their own stables situated at the Los Alamitos Race Course in Orange County, California where they train around 20 horses,
In a recent interview Martin and Coburn give the reasons why they chose Art Sherman to train their horse explaining that , unlike some of the other trainers that they had, he had not only a lot of experience, but also a lot of time, meaning that you can afford to spend quality time with every horse.
“You can tell Chrome likes him, and he really loves this horse.” Perry Martin summed up.
There can be little doubt that Martin and Coburn as well as the Shermans are surprised if not overwhelmed about the success of California Chrome, and this impossible dream becomes reality the thoroughbred racehorse will become the first horse since 1978, to claim the Triple Crown, with Affirmed that time taking the coveted title. Since then twelve other horses have won the first two races in the trilogy, but have failed to win the Belmont stakes.
According to horse racing history, if California Chrome wins this coming weekend, Sherman will not be the first Jewish trainer to win the Triple Crown, with that accolade going to the legendary Max Hirsch who took home the prize way back in 1946 with Assault.
Art Sherman is as philosophical as any horse trainer who finds himself in such a miraculous possession after 60 years in the horse racing business, with the last 35 years as a trainer. In an interview after California Chrome won the Preakness Stakes, the likeable and assuming Sherman confessed, possibly tongue in cheek, that winning the Triple Crown would undoubtedly be the “highlight of his career”.
Art Sherman was born in Brooklyn, N.Y, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. At the end of the World War II Sherman moved with his family to the suburbs of Los Angeles, where father opened a barber shop. As he began to reach his mid teens, Sherman realized that his family’s genetics would make it unlikely to pass the 5-foot-2 inch mark, and he began to consider a career as a jockey, after receiving considerable encouragement from his family as well as customers in the barber shop where he often went to help out.
Sherman’s career as a jockey began in the mid-fifties when he was already 17, although he failed to enjoy any real success. In 1980, at the age of 35, Art hung up his racing boots to become a full-time, licensed trainer, enjoying regular but not spectacular success during his 35 year career till he first met California Chrome.