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Love ya, Maryland

Jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates with California Chrome’s co-owner, Steve Coburn.

McClatchy Tribune

Jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates with California Chrome’s co-owner, Steve Coburn.

BALTIMORE — Steve Coburn, co-owner of California Chrome, lashed out at Churchill Downs after the Preakness on Saturday.

"Churchill Downs needs to call Maryland to get a lesson in hospitality," he said. "These people right here, they've treated us like royalty."

Co-owner Perry Martin didn't make the trip to Pimlico, and Coburn was asked why. "The hospitality we received at Churchill Downs wasn't very good, and Perry Martin, he decided that he and his family were going to watch the race some place within the world."

a second chance: Twelve years ago, Victor Espinoza sat in the starting gate at Belmont Park with a chance to sweep the Triple Crown. One bad step tripped him up. Frontrunner War Emblem stumbled badly coming out of the gate, then was bumped hard before a desperate Espinoza tried to rush him to the lead. He never got there, and the winner of the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness plodded home eighth behind 70-1 shot Sarava in the Belmont Stakes. Now Espinoza has another opportunity to sweep the 3-year-old classics with California Chrome. "It means a lot, and I'm ready for it," the 41-year-old Mexican said. "Hopefully, California Chrome comes back good. It's tough, but I'm just glad to have a second chance. In a million years I didn't think I was going to have one. I was very close once. Life goes on, and after over a decade, here we go. I'm here again."

ATTENDANCE RECORD: Saturday's attendance of 123,469 set a Preakness record, eclipsing the mark of 121,309 in 2012. The card's overall handle, $83,786,363, was the sixth largest in history; the Preakness handle of $53,655,673 ranked eighth all time.

of local interest: Tampa Bay Derby winner Ring Weekend finished fifth. … Kid Cruz, the colt whose majority owners are Steven Brandt and Rick Boylan of St. Pete Beach, finished eighth in the 10-horse Preakness field. Kid Cruz wound up 153/4 lengths behind California Chrome.

Girl TROUBLE: This was the first Preakness with a filly at the starting gate, a female jockey and a female trainer. Ria Antonia finished last. Rosie Napravnik, who rode Bayern, came in second-to-last. And Kid Cruz was saddled by trainer Linda Rice.

Love ya, Maryland 05/17/14 [Last modified: Saturday, May 17, 2014 11:08pm]
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