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Art Sherman’s Triple Crown fairy tale fails to produce a happy ending

Sherman, veteran trainer of California Chrome failed in his bid to win the first Triple Crown in 36 years on Saturday, after the horse that he had brought from obscurity to fame found the Belmont Stakes too tough a hurdle to climb.

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Art Sherman / Getty


Art Sherman, veteran trainer of California Chrome, as well as the horse joint owners, Steve Coburn  and Perry Martin, its jockey Victor Espinoza and possibly even the horse itself appear to be philosophical about failing to complete what would have been a magical treble, failing to complete the last round of the  Triple Crown, which would have seen the chestnut-colored colt Chrome become its first winner since 1978.

In the stuff that fairy tales are made of, in front of a massive crowd, there to watch  California Chrome make history, with  on and off  track bookmakers agreeing by offering odds of 4-5 on in its favor, the scene was all set to witness history and Art Sherman and California Chrome  become the subject of folklore.

However, within a few moments of the race getting underway, it rapidly became it became obvious that California Chrome would be incapable of reproducing the form that he displayed when he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in succession.

Eventually Art Sherman had to settle for  joint fourth with Tonalist, a 9-1 outsider taking first place. Although Sherman and jockey Victor Espinoza accepted the defeat with good grace, with Espinoza even admitting that the chestnut colt was laughing with visible physical stamina to compete in such a warm day around the grueling 1 ½-mile track.

However California Chrome’s co-owner Steve Coburn was not slow to point out that the race winner Tonalist was much fresher and more rested than California Chrome horse, having made his debut in the triple Crown series in the Belmont stakes and had not raced for a month. Colbourne has long maintained that it should be a case of  “ all or nothing” meaning that horses should be required to run in all three Triple Crown races.


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.




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